Making better choices
is not always this easy


Identifying Innovative Candidates to Replace Yourself as Founder

In 2012, Jaclyn Johnson founded Create & Cultivate, a media company that educates and inspires women to thrive and succeed in business. In 2018, Johnson had built Create & Cultivate up to eight employees when a buyer offered it $40 million. Unfortunately, the deal was too good to be true. Realizing how much the deal depended on Johnson's success, the buyer backed down. A few years later, Johnson signed a $22 million takeover bid from Corridor Capital. While still a lucrative deal, it was a significant discount from the original offering.

As with Johnson, when your business becomes dependent on you, it can be expensive. The most valuable companies don't rely on owner involvement to thrive. However, it can be difficult to find an amazing talent to replace you.

business succession planning

Business Succession Planning in South Africa

The Biggest Mistake Founders Make When Trying to Replace Themselves

Finding a CEO, Deputy Commander, or Chief Operating Officer to replace them is one of the most difficult projects founders can face. Whether you rely on recruiters, paid advertising, or personal networks to find candidates, one of the first steps to qualifying talent is a thorough background check.

Such is the case when many founders make the common mistake of being fooled by a Fortune 500 name on their resume or LinkedIn profile. While working in a large corporation can be impressive, the skills that are highly valued in a Fortune 500 company are typically different from those most startups need.

Large companies often have established processes, systems and hierarchies that have greatly contributed to their success. People who are successful in large companies tend to be successful within a given framework. However, in a younger, stingier start-up there is no framework to follow, which is why veterans of big companies often struggle to navigate a more entrepreneurial environment.

Instead of basing your employees on an impressive resume name, look for someone innovative, chaotic, action-oriented, and creative—someone with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Here are five strategies to help you identify innovative candidates when making hiring decisions:

Finding solutions to problems

Innovation is often about finding creative solutions to problems.Look for candidates who have demonstrated the ability to think strategically and find innovative solutions to challenges they have faced in the past.

Ask about their approach to problem solving

During the interview, ask candidates to describe their approach to problem solving and how they have come up with innovative solutions in the past. This will give you insight into their thought processes and a willingness to take risks and think creatively.

Evaluate their ability to learn

Innovative employees are often open to learning and flexible. Look for candidates who are used to taking on new challenges and learning new skills.

Rate their ability to work in a team

Innovation often requires collaboration.Therefore, look for candidates who have demonstrated the ability to work effectively in a team. Ask them about their past experiences working in teams and how they have contributed to the success of those teams.

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 business.

Olemera Financial Services and Business Succession Planning

Your company is probably counting on you right now for a healthy dose of creativity and innovation. However, if your goal is to replace yourself, following these five strategies can increase your chances of identifying innovative candidates who will bring fresh ideas and creativity to your organization.

Olemera offers tailored solutions and strategic business succession planning services in South Africa. To find out how we can help you build a business that is not only easy to hand over but extremely valuable to the acquirer, contact us.

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