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Top CEOs Get Brutally Honest About What It Takes to Run a Company

Inc. Magazine

Top CEOs Get Brutally Honest About What It Takes to Run a Company

Inc. asked the nation's fastest growing, private-company CEOs to answer a series of wide-ranging questions about their early days and their biggest struggles. Here's how they launched and how they stay motivated, as well as what keeps them up at night. Sixty-nine percent said leading a company was what motivated them to be an entrepreneur. What worries Inc. 500 CEOs about starting companies? Most cited failure (nearly 50 percent), followed by concern for their workers' livelihoods. That concern persists: Many said the hardest part of being a founder was maintaining others' jobs--even while providing jobs was often cited as one rewarding aspect of having a company. Seventy-six percent of CEOs used their personal savings as startup capital. And if that's not bootstrappy and daring enough for you, the next most common source for founders' capital was credit cards. And most CEOs didn't look too far when it came to starting their companies: 35 percent of survey respondents said partners and co-founders had been work colleagues, followed by 33 percent who said they started up with a close friend. Q: What is the hardest thing about being a founder? A: "Knowing that I'm responsible for the livelihood of my employees and for living up to my investors' expectations." -- Samer Hamadeh, Zeel | No. 167