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When is it time to hire a CEO?

Person in a suit walking down some stairs

February 20, 2023

CEO is an acronym of Chief Executive Officer. Essentially, it means the head of an organisation. They are the top member of the board and, though they may not own the business, they have a high degree of responsibility and influence on the company. The ultimate goal of a CEO is to ensure a business is running smoothly and to help it become more successful.

If you are struggling to take your business to the next level, it may be time to hire an experienced CEO. Standing aside and letting someone else take control could be a great move for a business owner. Read on to learn more.


Why Hiring An Experienced CEO Might Be Good For Your Business


You want your company to grow, and you’ve done a great job getting it where it is now. But you may lack the skills or experience to keep taking it further. An experienced CEO could be the solution as they can be a force for growth and success. Their guidance and strategic vision could carry your business to new heights.

Companies with professional CEOs are more likely to experience sustained growth in the long-term. Their presence can push you to put more effort into important tasks that improve the way your business operates. This can make your life easier and drive real growth.


When should you consider hiring a CEO?


Your attachment to your business may make it difficult to consider putting someone else in the driver’s seat. But there are certain signs that might indicate it’s time to make that move. These include:


  • A slowing of business growth that falls short of projections.
  • Complexity in the business is becoming a major challenge for you.
  • You lack the skills, expertise or connections to carry things forward.
  • The productivity and/or engagement of your employees has dropped.
  • You feel ready to put your leadership into new opportunities or ventures.


Many factors go into the decision to step down as CEO. The signs above are some of the most common, but there may be others. Generally speaking, if growth is your priority, you will likely reach a point where it’s time to hire a new CEO and create a new position for yourself.


What can a new CEO bring to your business?


An established CEO can play a key role in mapping out a company’s direction. Their experience, expertise and leadership can prove invaluable. Founder CEOs often struggle with standard management practices and are often prone to relying on incorrect assumptions.

A professional CEO can be a better fit for helping with stagnant growth. Their non-biased perspective can be a deciding factor in this. Let’s look at some of the things they can bring to the table.


  • Experience Growing Businesses: A CEO with experience of leading a business to success will have valuable insights and strategies. They may be able to identify new markets and partnerships or bring in greater efficiency.
  • A Fresh Perspective: Their new ideas could help overcome challenges or achieve goals. Founders are more emotionally attached to the business, which can hinder their ability to spot practical issues.
  • Attracting Investors: A CEO with a proven record of success can attract investment because they inspire trust. They can also develop relationships with key stakeholders to increase market visibility.
  • Implementing Growth Strategies: A new CEO may have skills in developing strategies to expand into new markets or develop new products.
  • Team Building: A good CEO may attract and retain top talent by nurturing a great company culture.
  • Deploying Essential Structures: Working with leadership teams, a new CEO could put new structures, processes and systems in place for growth.


How To Spot A Good CEO


Certain key qualities can tell you whether a candidate is likely to be a good CEO. The criteria will vary depending on your business type and situation. You need to look for traits that are a good fit for your business. Here are some common pointers to help with the decision-making.


  • Are they a good cultural fit? The new CEO should match the company’s culture and values. Culture is extremely important, so the new CEO needs to share the same vibe as the company.
  • Do their ambitions match yours? The ambition and vision of the new CEO should match yours. You need someone who cares about the business and has the vision to lead it where it needs to go.
  • Do they have the right skill set? A CEO needs the right expertise and skills to lead your business. Industry knowledge, sales, financial management, operations – these are all important skills. Identify the most important skills for your business before searching for a CEO.
  • Does their history show a record of success? Your new CEO should be able to demonstrate their ability to grow businesses in your industry. This includes working with a business at your level and taking it forward. This will give you confidence that they can do the same for you.


Next Steps For The Founder CEO


When a new CEO comes in, the founder will take on a new role. You may become more of an advisor or be actively involved in working alongside the new CEO. Here are some ideas for the founder’s next steps:


  • Take up a different leadership position or run a department.
  • Return as CEO after a few years.
  • Shift your focus onto other business ventures.
  • Take a break before finding your next step.


Final Thoughts


Business owners often end up taking on multiple responsibilities that can distract from their central tasks. By hiring a new CEO with the right skills and experience, critical decision-making can be put in the hands of someone with real expertise. Meanwhile, you can find the role that works best for you moving forward.

It is both rewarding and challenging to build a business from the ground up. Starting a company takes vision but you need to be honest with yourself if the time comes when you need help. Know your limits and bring in someone more experienced when progress stalls – it may be the best business decision you ever make.

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