When starting and owning a small business such as an LLC, you have much to think about from an organizational standpoint. Are you planning on being a solopreneur or will you hire employees to help run and grow your business? An even better question you should ask yourself is, “Am I fit to be the CEO?”
It’s a tough question you’ll need to wrap your head around — and one that you shouldn’t let your ego get in the way of. If you don’t feel putting yourself in the driver’s seat is the best long-term strategy for your business, you’ll need to find a CEO.
CEO vs. Founder
At the end of the day, there is a drastic difference between the terms “CEO” and “founder.” Unfortunately, they are often used interchangeably when they are indeed very different.
A founder is someone who had an idea and started a business. They could be an owner who has given the decision-making power to someone else to run their business effectively.
A CEO, on the other hand, is the person who is actually running the business and who makes final decisions. The CEO works with employees, customers and shareholders to grow the business.
How to Determine If You Should Be CEO
Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding if you should be the CEO of your business.
1. What Skills Do You Bring to the Table?
It’s great to have a business idea and work towards making it a reality, but what skills do you possess that can help you sustain your business?
Are you driven? Do you have a background in business that will help you take the necessary steps to launch and scale? Do you know how to market your product or service? Can you sell and effectively close?
If you really don’t want the responsibility and stress involved with running a business, nor have the skills necessary, find a CEO who you can hand the business over to. This way you can apply the skills do possess to a different area of the business.
2. Are You Committed to Running the Business (and Capable)?
To be your own CEO, you need to be able to juggle many things all at the same time. You won’t survive as a business owner if you aren’t able to put effort into the growth of your business.
Be prepared to give up (some) of your weekends in order to grow your business. Be prepared to get up early and head into the office and then stay late at night to button up loose ends and finish projects. There are no “off-days” when you want to be your own CEO.
Take a good hard look at your commitments already on the table and see if you’ll have the time and bandwidth to handle all of it. If not, it’s best for you to find a CEO.
3. Can You Take a Backseat and Give Someone Else Control?
If you’re a control freak, do yourself a favor and be your own CEO for the business. If you feel like you’re going to micromanage any CEO you hire, reconsider if you want to give up control of the company in a sense or if you’d simply rather be your own CEO for the time being.
Many people can’t fathom the thought of handing over control of their business to someone else. And that’s OK.
How to Find a CEO and Hire Them
If you’ve decided you don’t want to be your own CEO and that it’s in your best interest to find someone to take the reins, it’s time to send out the hounds! Here are a few ways to find a CEO.
1. Use an Agency
As a small business owner, you may not have the ability to spend a ton of money searching for prospective CEOs. If you do have some extra cash you’re willing to part with, you can hire an agency to search for and find a CEO.
These recruiters generally have a vast network they can tap into to find you some prospects. Many of these agencies will go through the entire process of vetting a CEO for you. They’ll contact candidates and even interview them to ensure they are the right fit for your company. From there, they will reach out to you with a select few they believe are ideal candidates.
2. Tap Your Network
If you prefer to do it on your own, look at your current network. Do you know anyone who could provide leads on good candidates?
Social media, particularly LinkedIn, is a great place to post that you’re growing the business and in search of a CEO.
You can also look at job search boards online. Many sites allow you to post an ad and comb through candidates you wish to reach out to.
3. Meet Face-to-Face
Regardless of the direction you go in your search to find a CEO, you need to personally interview each candidate yourself. Don’t rely on someone else’s recommendation.
Ask the interviewees questions to get a sense of their background, their skills, and their previous experience as a CEO (if any). Ask about accomplishments to determine their ability to perform and succeed.
At the end of the day, the decision is yours and you need to feel comfortable and willing to hand the torch over to another individual to help grow your business.
If you’re still in the infancy stage of setting up your business or need help with moving in the right direction, Incfile has a fantastic business checklist that you can use for free to ensure you’re not skipping over any part of the process.