Considering the fact that a startup usually happens because of a founder's initial vision. Is it a good idea to have a founder as one of the C-level executives of a startup company?.
What qualities should a found have before choosing a C-level title ?.
Or is it better to call yourself a 'Founder' or 'VP' ?
After calling myself "CEO" and "President" and "CTO" and all that, I think "founder" is best.
Lots of MBAs and whatnot are C_Os. So what? Not everyone is a founder.
And it tells anyone else that you're the real deal.
If you are the founder, then just call yourself the CEO. If you are the one who makes the final decisions, you are the CEO.
If you are very young, VCs may eventually tell you that as part of the growth, the time will come for a "professional" CEO to replace you. Fine. In the meantime, you are the CEO.
For all the other co-founders, avoid C-level titles because they lead to title inflation at the wrong time. In a group of less than 8 people in a startup, the best structure I have seen is one CEO, and maybe some director-level titles (engineering, marketing). Sometimes a part-time CFO is justified. That's about it.
Call yourself "Founder" to start. Everyone knows what it means.
When you start a company, you will likely wear all the hats at one time or another, so any distinction between technical, management, financial or operational roles is a bit of a joke. There are much more important concerns (finding customers, making money, etc.) to worry about than your job title.
Until your business gets off the ground, it's premature to assign grand titles. You might as well call yourself Emperor of Nothing.
I agree with founder, don't get too title heavy.
To give you an example I've met a man running a startup just today. There are 7 partners. Each are president's of something. There are also about 20 volunteers, everybody is Vice President or director. All these titles really do is devalue the work of those who actually to President / Director level work.
A founder is CEO, CFO, CTO, Director of everything and a trench worker. That is likely what you are. There is not a clear distinction of when you become a CEO, but I'd say when you have multiple employees and have accepted capital rounds or have a steady flow of clients and the focus switches from gaining new customers to maintaining existing ones.
If your question was relating to semantics, and what to call yourself - then Founder or CEO will do just fine.
If your question was "should you be calling the shots?", then that depends. Some great ideas get lost because the brilliant engineer behind it didn't have the business skills to get the project off the ground. Others adjust and learn the ropes as they go behind a great idea (Zuckerberg for example).
If you're not comfortable a) making tough decisions b) selling your product c) speaking to groups and networking d) managing people - then you may want to get a more business savvy person to work with you. Focus on what you do best and cough up some equity for someone to do the stuff you probably don't like to do any way. It's still your baby, but without business acumen or a shitload of passion, ideas can get stalled without skills on both sides of the house, and it's rare to find them in one person.
My two cents.
I agree, "Founder" is best. Also, these titles are only important in some kinds of management structures.