Your business is your brainchild, guided by endless days and nights of persistent effort fueled by passion, ambition, and dreams alike. With all your blood and sweat put into your business venture, the very thought of handing over the keys to another person may make you anxious. But there comes a time when all founders hand over the reigns (okay, a part of it) to a CEO, to ensure that the growth trajectory of the company maintains an upswing. While the decision is surely not one of the easiest ones to make, you’d rather initiate it yourself when there is a requirement, rather than waiting till the board members arrive at your doorstep announcing the same.
The budding stages
Let’s explore on the growth phases of an organization to identify the juncture at which the necessity for a CEO may arise, so you can accordingly lay out your corporate strategy. The elementary stage of any business will see it operating in a hub-spoke model, where the founder makes most of the decisions and integrates the various operating departments. You may have under 40 employees at this stage, and are still in the process of figuring out what strategies work out the best for your organization to run smoothly, and are aligning your vision with the real world’s reception to give your end-product a commercial spin.
You then move onto the next stage where the teams begin engaging in cross-functional operations, sharing metrics, laying out process protocols for better coordination and such. This is ideally the right stage, where most founders start asking themselves questions like “Do I need a CEO?” or “Can I handle the CEO’s job myself?” You may want to ask yourself the same questions as well, to draw a clear distinction on whether your idea is to focus on the vision while another experienced individual handles all the intricacies, or if you look forward to filling the CEO’s shoes yourself. You will undoubtedly need the assistance and advice of senior members, who’ve experience in the same or a similar field, irrespective of the choice you make at this point.
Making pitches and inking partnerships
Many entrepreneurs have ideas, vision, and products to launch themselves in the commercial market, but they fall back when it comes to making a pitch. As you begin to expand your venture, it is natural for you to look for partnerships to take your business to the next level. No matter how brilliant your product is, sometimes, putting up a good pitch may not be your best asset. Well, there’s nothing wrong with admitting that you need a hand from a business-minded person who has a thorough understanding of your business space and can help you chalk out partnership deals. In fact, many entrepreneurs admit that they began hunting for a CEO when their product had that market-ready edge to it, and would soon secure commercial interest.
Leading operations and business
It isn’t uncommon to find entrepreneurs and founders juggling between tasks from tackling technical queries of the Research and Development team, to handling revenue generation and marketing. Let’s face it, no matter how amazing a self-proclaimed multi-tasker you may be, managing an organization surpasses your traditional levels of multi-tasking. You’re soon going to realize that you cannot be at a million places at once, transforming your brainchild from an idea to research, from product to a revenue-generating commercial target. There have also been cases where although founders are valuable, irreplaceable contributors, they are painstakingly bad managers. This may just be a phase where you take a string of bad decisions or an endless phase where you’re simply a bad manager. While a technical field may be your thing, managing may not be your forte. The easiest way to conquer this is to hire a CEO who can do a better job, and make it easier for you.
Running an established business
Once your business settles down, and has the processes in place, and starts expanding, the functionality depth is going to expand further as well. Once your product meets a good reception at the market, you’ll have to keep consistency in mind to not lose out on customers. This calls for management and execution that is organized and predictable. Hiring a CEO at this juncture can ensure this.
The CEO acts as the orchestrator, directing all departments to deliver to the best of their efforts while integrating your organization as a whole. You don’t want to be buried down in emails, requests, calls, and orders, so you barely have the time to see where your organization is headed. Your organization may be moving at such a fast pace, that you’re drowned by external factors that barely give you any time to manage the organization itself. The addition of a CEO can not only have your organization function smoothly at times like this, but also, help in enhancing the managerial bandwidth, and open your organization to new possibilities that propel it forward, and bring your vision to fruition.
The transformation from organized chaos to a successful organization can be easy if you take the leap and hire the right CEO at the right time!