6 Things to Consider While in College if You Want to be a Startup CEO

Making the decision to become the CEO of a startup can be rough. It requires a huge risk, personal investment, and a lot of time. But if your dream is to be the next Steve Jobs, nothing is going to convince you to choose another career path. Here are a few things to consider while you’re in college to help you become the best startup CEO you can be.

How to Maintain Your Company’s Vision


As the CEO of a startup, the success of your company depends on you and your good idea. You have the vision, you have the drive, so it’s up to you to stay focused and help others to see the potential in your company. A good CEO will not be short-sighted and only think about the success of the coming months. A good CEO will understand that there more than likely won’t be much success for the first year, and possibly more. Your job is to stay motivated, keep your team motivated and be the best at whatever you set out to be.

While you have the opportunity to stretch your leadership legs, take a leadership role in a popular club or campus organization. This will prepare you for the many tasks you’ll be responsible for once you’ve taken on the role of CEO of a startup company.

How to Build a Solid Team

team building
photo credit: kindonnelly

After you have your million dollar idea and the drive to make it happen, your next step is to build a solid team. It may be tempting to hire your friends, or surround yourself with people you like, but you need to find people who do their jobs better than you could. By taking the time to bring in the most capable employees, you’ll feel safe letting them take the lead, and won’t have to waste time micromanaging.

Take advantage of business courses offered at your college or university. Fit the idea you have for your own company into the guidance given by professors and instructors. This will help you gauge the business model in your head to the real world. It will also give you a chance to tweak it if you have to.

When building your team, it’s important to be honest with them about the startup process. As a new venture, there will be a lot of long hours, grinding days, and missteps. It won’t be an easy road for anyone involved, but remind them that it is possible. By creating an environment in which you and your employees can give feedback freely, you’ll be more aware of problems early on and be able to constantly improve as you grow.

How to Be a Good Link

startup meetup event
photo credit: Lai Ryanne

As the CEO, you will be the link between your company and your investors. It will be your job to represent yourself and your employees in a way that bolsters confidence in the investors and lets them know you’re worth their time. Most investors work with multiple companies at a time.

You also need to be a good link between your startup company and your product. As the CEO, you’re in the driver’s seat. If you don’t represent your end product properly, or lose site of it along the way, your company will follow suit. In the first few months or years of your startup, the pressure is all on you. As you grow, you will find a dependable COO, board members, and advisers. But until then, it’s up to you.

How to Learn on the Job

learn on the job

While you’re in school, take what you’re learning in the classrooms and apply it to real-world scenarios. Keep abreast of current events in the business world, and decide how you would handle each scenario yourself.

Not all successful CEOs need to have a fancy degree or years of experience. If you’re able to learn on the job and grow from your mistakes, success won’t be far behind. Having preconceived notions of how a company is supposed to look and run can actually hinder your progress. A startup company of just a small group of people runs much differently than a large corporation. Surround yourself with mentors who are successful as leaders and CEOs and use them as a sounding board as you go.

How to Understand the Tech Side

tech savvy

Take as many technology courses as you possibly can while you are enrolled in classes. Information technology is a field offered by many higher education programs.

As a CEO, you need to have a working knowledge of every aspect of your company, including the technology used. It helps to understand the technical requirements, even a little bit. Asking your IT team to build a site or fix a problem might seem easy to you, but it could be a momentous undertaking for them. Luckily, there are options like iDatix workflow software to help automate your workflow and streamline your days. A lot of the most common problems faced in a startup can be avoided by streamlining your processes and integrating all of your software.

How to Enjoy Yourself

having fun

It’s obvious that being the CEO of a startup is going to be a difficult and stressful journey, but look at the big picture. You’re finally the boss, and you’re making your vision come true. You’re building a team that cares about the same things you do. You’re coming in to work every day and making progress. This is a personal journey as much as a business venture. You will find out if you’ve got what it takes and push yourself to your absolute limits. There is no class or degree that can prepare you for that feeling. You’re the big cheese, the CEO. Just let that soak in for a minute.

Taking the leap and becoming the CEO of your own startup is a big decision. By keeping these few things in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a successful future.

About the Author: Author Jane is a freelance writer who loves to write about anything from tech to mommy stuff. She is featured in many blogs as a guest writer, and can write with authority on any niche or subject.