As a startup, do I need a CSO on the management team?
I am looking to build out a management team for my startup. Do I need to include a chief strategy officer? Or are there other more important positions to bring on first?
You need to define what you want and where you want to go. You are the strategy maker.. You are the CEO !
You also need to know what is your EXIT strategy...You can hire people that do the devil's advocate role , or help you implement your strategy.. If you don't know what you want to do , yet ,then hold on regarding your startup.. You need to have a clear vision, coz on the go , you will have to do lots of changes depending on new pop-ups, and market changes. Also being clear about where you want to go, will make you more proactive, and when do a massive change on your company's goals , you still know your new destination.
As a former CFO and strategist for nearly 32 years, I can tell you that a CSO is the last thing you need in a start-up--unless you're in Silicon Valley with support from the likes of Kleiner Perkins, Andreesen Horowitz, et al., and an expectation of doing multiple rounds of financing. I infer that you're not.
You do need a strategy, however, and, from what I've seen in others' posts here, no one so far has defined--accurately--the meaning of the word. Among knowledgeable strategy professionals, there is no such thing as 'sales strategy', 'marketing strategy', 'HR strategy', 'IT strategy', 'customer strategy', etc. Such phrases are tossed around by people who either (a) wouldn't know a 'strategy' if it bit 'em on the backside, or (b) are trying to inflate the their own sense of self-importance to those who know as little as they do. For a post about why an organization has only one strategy, click here: http://bit.ly/StrategyIsSingular.
Here's a definition of 'strategy', which, if you follow it, will take you a very long ways: Strategy is a unique system of complementary activities that delivers superior value to customers and compelling value to capital-providers. Most of that definition comes from Michael Porter, the pre-eminent authority in the world on the subject of strategy. It also has an essential financial constraint. The notion of 'complementary activities' means that they 'fit' together like the pieces of a puzzle. Anyone who thinks that's easy hasn't tried it.
You should read and internalize Michael Porter's seminal 1996 paper, "What Is Strategy?". You will also want to read--a lot--about his concept called the "value chain" (Google it). The value chain is crucial to achieving the 'fit' to which I referred above.
BTW, unless your venture is that megabucks Silicon Valley start-up I mentioned above, you don't need a Board of Directors. Those are expensive from the standpoint of E&O insurance. You'd be much better off forming a carefully chosen 'Council of Advisers.' It should be small--seven people max, including you, and preferably five (odd numbers avoid ties). You should be able to articulate at least one solid business reason why you chose each member of the Council. None of them should be people who are already paid advisers (lawyer, CPA, etc.) to your company because you want objective advice that is unencumbered by a Council member reluctant to give you unpleasant advice for fear of jeopardizing their 'other' relationship w/your company. The Council can do what a Board does, but without the legal exposure.
I have published extensively about Councils and related subjects for small businesses, so feel free to e-mail me at: wmiller (at) beckmill (dot) com. If you're unable to access the "What is Strategy?" paper, I can help you with that, too.
Short answer: No.
Don't expect to find someone else with a better vision than you on the startup that you cooked up. The slightest difference in visions between you and an appointed CSO could give rise to frustrations and spell trouble for your startup. A startup should be as low hierarchical as possible.
The more people you put between you and the lowest level employee, the more time you will loose with bureaucracy (meetings, forms, requests...) in order to get things done.
An outside consultant, with an advisory role would be a better idea, if you need help improving your strategy. You take their advice, you tweak your strategy as you.
And again, as most already answered. You should be wearing most of the hats, but do have experts around should you need their advice.
No necessary as the cost will be high for a full time staff just to do planning. Use a consultant in the beginning and get the consultant to train the accountant or other managers to do the job on long term basis. You can contact me if you need help...http://www.mosaichub.com/answers/question/as-a-startup-do-i-need-a-cso-in-management-team?s=aex
Depends on the strenths and weaknesses in your organization, your goals, and your budget.
yes - you are the one!
You need all the positions - CEO, CFO, COO, CMO, CSO, CTO, CIO, Business Development ...BUT probably you wear most of the hats
Are you planning to pay them? Then no. You have many uses for your cash, and the somewhat limited strategies that a start-up should be worrying about are decisions that the initial leadership group should be taking; your advisory board is also important in this role. You should focus first about establishing a viable market, then you can worry about taking over the world..
Not likely. If you're the business owner, expect to be the initial CSO. You probably don't want to give this job to anyone else unless you totally lack strategic skills. In a startup, keeping the management team small is very common.
There are factors that need to be considered such as expertise existing in the executive team and budget. Also to be considered is can a solution be found using a consultant. Startups generally have the expertise and knowledge of the industry and initial client (s) lined up. The biggest thing generally missing is marketing expertise which needs to be found and engaged, if this person is the chief strategist than the answer is yes
It depends on the size of the startup. Most startups are small and the Founder usually acts as CEO and carries a few more hats - CSO is one of them. The last you want to do is creating a top heavy structure in a startup. Better focus on product management/development, quality control, marketing and sales, and don't forget to get a good CFO or accountant.
According to me you should be the CEO, CSO , CFO, CIO all rolled into one for the following resaons
Its your baby and you have to set your own directions first all in a free and uncluttered manner.
Secondly, you need to watch your budget because hiring a CSO is likely to cost money.
Your first priority should be to set up a cyoung, dedicated team who can be moulded to carry forward organizational culture and values and grow the business.You should initially be the nerve centre of all operations.
Frankly designations like CSO are of little consequence- ultimately it is the ability to execute your strategies effectively that metter.
If you have something investors want badly enough you don't even need shoes.
A CSO is a highly specific (and prestigious) role. It's also very complicated to define on paper - which makes defining terms of success and failure really difficult; which in turn means that offering a CSO position to someone too early may expose you to unnecessary HR complications.
Typically, your management team should be all working as strategists for your company. My advice is this: you know you need a strategy specialist when your business is demanding more from your executives (the whole team) than they're capable of delivering. How do you know that? if you find strategy issues are taking a long time to resolve, or people are just shooting in the dark, or people are starting to source solutions/strategies from friends/families/outside, etc.
If you have a specific issue that needs a quick resolution/plan of action, this is NOT a reason to hire a CSO. On a one-off basis, that's a sign you need a consultant. A strategic consultant can get you over the hump without burdening your equity commitments or salary expectations (remember: consultants are always a one-time business expense that doesn't factor into forecasting in sales discussions!!!).
Pro tip: when you are ready to hire a CSO, bring in a strategy consultant for the HR process. A lot of recruitment firms will tell you "we can do that too" but I've never seen a recruiter who can aptly screen strategy candidates. It's not something you can just filter by buzz words!
The CEO is the CSO in any startup normally, however, you likely need a consultant to help structure and review the Strategic Planning process with your team. This givees outside perspective, extra experience and creativity. Also a someone without a bias or skin in the outcome. To answer the queston apprroiately I would need to understad who eles is on your team - including their experince. I do Strategic Planning and facilitations, as well as created a SP kit for smaller companies. Many variables and SP is the most complex process a company has so having a coach or facilitator is best.
See my video in Strategic pLanning here:
And the product with all the processes, tools and training to do the process well (if on a tight budget) here:
Strategic planning is not a ful time job unless the company is complex with multple products, channels and/or geographies.
ِAs a start up business you need to set a plan according to your financial capacity ,If you can offer to hire chief strategy officer ,well and good other wise I a dvise you to start without ,then gradually when you feel to go for it . well & good .
I agree with David Chavez but if you can't find an effective board of directors then at least surround yourself with driven people and supportive affiliates. Once your business is cost effective however, make sure you DO bring in a CSO but only if they can be the COO too, (able to implement, not just talk about what needs doing). I have seen too many businesses go bust because the owner remained too much in control for too long. What happens is the industry morphs into something new as the years progress and the owner only knows how to keep doing what they have always done. Alternatively engage an external consultant to periodically 'check in' on whether what you are doing is relevant to the current market. Having to interact with an outside expert, who keeps abreast of the trends, will make sure your own views are sound and unbiased.
Hard to say. What business you are in matters a lot. What your role is on the team Matters as well. It does depend on what you are doing and where you plan to go. You don't need to worry so much about Titles, just who will do what. You have to figure out who is doing what, what your Processes are in each area, such as Sales, Marketing, Finance, Delivery, Development, etc. I would not worry about Titles - Just Functions.
My answer is "No". First design and implement your project and your team, and then hire a COO for example to support you.
Any business should start with a business plan that includes your marketing; operational; and financial plans. Initially this is your " chief strategy officer". You should review it often to remind you why you started the business and how to be successful. My general advice is to put together an experienced board of directors that will provide you with encouragement, constructive criticism and pragmatic guidance. In my opinion, this is the best and most economical first approach to strategy. Focusing too much on executives will make you top heavy and inefficient.
As a startup company who knows the strategy of your company better than yourself. Hire you a sales staff and train them the way you want, give them your insight and what is expected and move forward from there. Right your goals no farther than 3-6 months at a time and that way you can see what is working and what is not working. Unless you can find someone with more knowledge in your line of business than you have , use your money on other things.