Your Startup Team: A Who’s Who Guide

Image Title

posted by Linh Nguyen
on May 06, 2016

A successful startup has to begin somewhere, and that source lies in the minds of the team behind the product. When it is time to make that idea a reality, how do you arrange these brilliant contributors in a way that best highlights their skills and promotes efficiency within your newly founded company? If it is time to start assigning titles for that first batch of business cards, let us help you figure out who should be called what with this simple Startup team guide.


There are plenty of stumbling blocks along the way to success, so having individuals at-the-ready with the expertise to handle these issues is an important piece to making your business run smoothly. But what are these skill-specific positions? And does a startup need all of them? Let’s learn more about positions within a company and about how you can begin to prepare your dream team.


READ MORE: Saigon Tech Startup Fest 2016


1. The C’s, a.k.a. “The Co-Founders”:

CEO (Chief Executive Officer)




Basically, s/he is the person who everyone can call “boss.” Along with the name and the fame comes the enormous responsibility of making sure the organization runs smoothly in every aspect. One of the fundamental skills for this position is strategic planning; every CEO needs an understanding of past successes and failures in order to make the best future plans for the organization. An individual in this role must also take care of the hiring and firing that occurs within a company; the CEO must know who to keep and whether or not an employee’s expertise is currently benefiting the business.


COO (Chief Operating Officer)




An individual in this position observes the happenings – big and small – of the team 24/7. Like a store manager at your local shop, this person knows where everyone and everything belongs at any given time. A COO appreciates precision and excels at the operational details required to make an organization run smoothly.


CFO (Chief Financial Officer)




The word “financial” gives this one away! This boss handles the company cash flow, so s/he must have a good brain for financial strategy, budgeting, and investments.


CMO (Chief Marketing Officer)




The CMO can truly make or break the company. Having the skills to recognize what is current and trending helps them read when and how to best position a product to reach the intended market. While overseeing the marketing strategy of a company, it is the CMO’s job to help make his/her product stand out among the competitors and to draw in potential distributors, sponsors, and consumers.


CTO (Chief Technology Officer)




Not only do individuals in this role enjoy staying current with the tech tools that make their team faster and more efficient, but they also keep in mind what tools are the most suitable for their company’s needs; the latest model may not always be the best fit for an organization, and it takes a skilled CTO to recognize that fact.


2. Project Manager (PM)/Lead




Usually called the team’s “parent,” a PM is the one who keeps everyone involved in a project on-track. S/he facilitates effective communication within the team and between other parties, delegates tasks, establishes realistic deadlines, and helps drive the project to completion.


3. Developer




When it comes to startup life, more than one of these gurus is usually needed to get the company off the ground. Engineers work together with various platforms and languages to create the best product for the task at hand.


4. Designer




This person lays the base for production; in this role, an individual establishes the look and feel of a product before sharing the full vision with the engineer(s). Designers can also be responsible for creating the product’s brand, logo, and the materials on which these are displayed.


Whether it is a company of 10 or 10,000, you’ll be hard pressed to find an organization without these key players. However, everyone in business knows that there are so many working parts to make a team effective, efficient, and strong, so share with us the roles you find invaluable on your team! Have you created any unique job titles or found a greater need for one role over another as your business has grown? We’d love to hear all about it, startup-ers!