5 Strategies to Find the Right Candidates to Replace You as a Business Owner - Business Acceleration Team
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Business Coach in Tulsa

5 Strategies to Find the Right Candidates to Replace You as a Business Owner

In 2012, Jaclyn Johnson started Create & Cultivate, a media company that educates and inspires women to succeed in business.

By 2018, she had grown Create & Cultivate to eight employees. It was then that she received an offer to purchase her business for an incredible $40 million. Unfortunately, the deal was too good to be true. When the acquirer realized how dependent the business was on Johnson, they withdrew their offer.

A couple of years later, Jaclyn sold Create & Cultivate to Corridor Capital for $22 million. While still a lucrative deal, it was a significant decrease from the original offer.

The moral of the story? If your company is too dependent on you, it may end up costing you down the road. The most valuable companies don’t rely on the owner’s involvement to succeed. Unfortunately, finding extraordinary talent to replace yourself can be challenging, to say the least.

The Biggest Mistake Most Owners Make When Trying to Replace Themselves

Finding a general manager, second-in-command, or Chief Operating Officer to replace themselves is one of the hardest projects business owners may ever tackle.

Whether you rely on a recruiter, paid advertising, or your personal network to find candidates, one of the first steps to shortlisting talent is conducting a comprehensive review of their background. It’s at this point that many business owners make the common error of being impressed by a company name on a resume or LinkedIn profile.

While working for a large company may be impressive, the skills that tend to be held in high regard at a Fortune 500 company often differ from what most small to medium-sized companies need.

Big companies often have well-established processes, systems, and hierarchies that have contributed to their success. People who thrive in big companies tend to excel at winning inside of a predetermined framework.

Unfortunately, many small to medium-sized companies don’t have as significant a framework to follow. This is why many big company veterans often struggle in a more entrepreneurial environment.

If you truly desire to land a worthy replacement, don’t base your hiring decisions on the impressive company names on their resume. Instead, focus on finding someone who is innovative, comfortable with chaos, action-oriented, and creative – someone with an entrepreneurial mindset.

To find them, try using these five strategies when making hiring decisions:

1. Look for Problem-Solvers

Innovation often involves finding creative solutions to problems. Look for candidates who have demonstrated the ability to think strategically and been able to come up with innovative solutions to challenges they have faced in the past.

2. Determine How They Solve Problems

During the interview, ask candidates to describe their approach to problem-solving. How have they produced innovative solutions in the past? This will give you insight into their thought processes. You’ll also get a clearer understanding of their willingness to take risks and ability to think creatively.

3. Evaluate Their Learning Agility

Innovative employees are often those who are open to learning. They also tend to be adaptable. Look for candidates who have a history of taking on new challenges and learning new skills.

4. Assess Their Ability to Work in Teams

Innovation often involves collaboration. Look for candidates who have demonstrated the ability to work effectively with others. Ask about their past experiences working in teams and how they contributed to the team’s success.

5. Consider Their Creativity

Look for candidates who have a creative portfolio or have pursued creative hobbies or projects outside of work. This can be a good indicator of their potential to bring new and innovative ideas to your organization. Right now, your company probably relies on you for a healthy dose of creativity and innovation.

If your goal is to replace yourself, following these five strategies can increase your chances of identifying innovative candidates who will bring fresh thinking and creativity to your organization. They can also lead to a significantly higher payday when you sell your business.

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