When you’re running a start-up, the company is a little like your baby. You’re not just overseeing a business, you’re responsible for its successes and failures, and it can consume all of your time.
This is reasonable in the early days when you’re a small team working to get your product or service ready for the market. All you need is the drive and expertise to create what is going to be your company’s USP and get a minimum viable product ready for the market and for investors.
With success, though, comes more staff, more responsibilities and the need for a more traditional business structure. It’s difficult but you have to acknowledge the time has come to hire in some executives who are business specialists, to make sure your company and your unique idea will survive in the wider marketplace. One of the hires you may need to make is a CEO. This might feel like you’re losing control of the business, but that’s not really the case. As well as keeping your investors happy, a business-focussed CEO allows you to focus more on the actual product that will make your name, rather than business processes.
Finding the right CEO is a difficult task that is worth devoting considerable time and resources to. The right one, who’s a good fit for your product and existing team can take your company to the next level of success, but one who you’re not fully confident in and doesn’t share your existing culture is going to waste energy and time with petty disputes and clashes.
Looking for CEO recruiting firms is a great place to start. Finding a reputable firm you can work with that specialises in high level appointments can give you the expertise in the job market and requirements of the position that you may lack if this is your start-up.
When you have your short list of candidates, it’s important to remember that this is not a normal interview process. Expect a discussion rather than a competency based interview: your recruiter should have ensured that anyone sitting down with you and your board is fully qualified to be there. What you need to focus on are the intangible qualities you can only settle face to face: the chemistry the candidate has with you, their sense of drive, their plans.
Finding the right CEO is difficult but if you get it right it can ensure your start-up’s success for years to come.