There are many roles you must play as startup founder/CEO. Make sure you cover these three or else.

There are so many hats to wear as a CEO and trying to balance all of them can be a daunting task. Every day there are more fires to put out with employees, vendors, customers, investors as well as your own demons. These all feel like look-back issues. Those are just the issues that come to you. Welcome to the fire.

On top of the look-back issues there are then the futuristic strategic opportunities of where you want to go. These are the look-forward issues. These of course are the tasks you thought you would be dealing with as CEO. Remember those dreams you had and how you would be this awesome captain of the ship?

Want a quick template for prioritization? Bucket everything in these 3 “C” titles/roles–if it does not fit, give the task to someone else or push it away for later. I am referring to CEO, CTO and CMO.

Lets break them down.

CTO (Chief Technology Officer) or CPO (for Chief Product Officer). These are both in the same bucket to me. This is the company’s product. You may already have someone sitting in this seat, but that does not mean you give up total control to that person. As CEO you must continue to ask the right questions and ensure that the product team is building the right product in the right way.

CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). I have written many times about the need to focus on the customer. The world is littered with great product with no customers. If you are in this position you are just playing business (like playing house as a kid). When I look back at every company I was involved in, my constant regret is that I did not spend enough time on sales & marketing. If you are a builder CEO, this is the area you need to double-down on.

One more role and 2 little paragraphs are there for the picking here over at