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Top 3 Ways To Own The Boss Role


By Arvind Parthiban, CEO of Zarget

Businessman sitting at table

The startup bug has reached epidemic proportions. In the U.S., nearly half a million new startups were launched every month last year, according to the Kauffman Index. And all of those new businesses will need more than a viable value proposition to survive; they’ll also need competent management.

Some people are born leaders, but even for those with innate leadership skills, making the transition from employee to boss takes planning and effort. My co-founders and I discovered this firsthand more than a year ago when we launched our startup.

Here’s what we learned along the way about becoming the boss:

1. Decide who owns each operating area.

As a startup founder, you and your cofounders and/or C-level officers are the ultimate decision-makers — there’s no other boss you can turn to if you reach an impasse. That’s why it’s important to break the operation up into individual components and put each under the purview of a company officer. At my company, we call them Direct Responsible Individuals (DRIs). But no matter what you call them, you’ll need them. Assign people who will consider input from everyone else and then make the final call for their areas of responsibility.

2. Get used to switching hats… at the drop of a hat.

One of the perks bosses (and employees) at big companies get is a staff to handle a variety of tasks, such as making travel arrangements, coordinating events, handling HR issues, marketing, sales, etc. As a startup owner, you don’t have that perk, so you’ll have to quickly become comfortable with handling all sorts of functions. Think of it as a learning experience. As your company grows and you bring new people on to manage these functions, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of what each role requires since you’ll have done it yourself.

3. Don’t be blindsided by customer expectations.

You’re in charge of product strategy as the company leader, so you have to be prepared for all contingencies — including the possibility that the features you think deliver the most value for your product or service might not be the ones customers value the most. For example, you might have spent the most time developing Feature A on an app, only to find that customers are most impressed with Feature B, which you added as an afterthought. But bosses have to be flexible and roll with the punches. Accept that this may happen and be ready for it.

Making the transition from employee to boss can be tough if you’re not prepared for it. And given all the details that go into launching a new business, making the jump from a cubicle to the corner office isn’t high on many budding entrepreneurs’ to-do list. But it should be.

Once you launch your company, you and your cofounders will be the final authorities. So make sure you divide up responsibilities to avoid deadlocks, and be prepared to handle anything and everything that comes at you — including shifting customer expectations. Once you do that, you’ll OWN the boss role.


arvind parthiban

Arvind Parthiban is the CEO & co-founder of Zarget, where in addition to conceptualising the company vision and piloting the course of action to meet their objectives, he currently heads product marketing, presales and sales operations. A former employee of Zoho where he headed the product marketing for ITSM suite of flagship products, Arvind gained valuable insights into the SaaS industry and all things ‘Marketing’. Arvind draws from his vast wealth of experience to power the business units forward.