Who’s the better CEO for a startup?
1. The Entrepreneur - who’s all about building a business .
2. The Practitioner - who takes their personal experience and builds a solution they wish they had.
Many years ago, I read the book "The E-Myth Revisited" that talks all about startups and small businesses. In a nutshell - the books talks about how a baker can bake, but that doesn't mean they'll be good at running a bakery.
The book was written many years ago, and it makes some very valid points, but fast forward to 2020 and now I think it’s the practitioner who has a better chance at building a startup that will succeed.
Here’s why ...
I’m fortunate to have been head of marketing at four different B2B SaaS startups - experiencing growth first hand. Three startups were led by ex-practitioners. The fourth startup was led by some really smart and awesome people, but we were building a product that wasn’t in their wheelhouse.
During the early stages of a startup, creating the right product and also positioning the company (ideally the CEO) as a thought leader in the field is crucial. Doing so without an executive team member who truly understands the problem space, and can identify with the target audience from personal experience is very hard.
If your CEO doesn’t have some entrepreneurial blood - you will fail, but if they don’t have a lot of practitioner blood, it’ll be extremely hard to succeed.