By 2018, Johnson had grown Create & Cultivate to eight employees when an acquirer offered her a staggering $40 million. Unfortunately, the deal was too good to be true. When the acquirer discovered how dependent the business was on Johnson to succeed, they pulled out.
A few years later, Johnson signed an acquisition offer from Corridor Capital for $22 million. While still a lucrative deal, it was a significant decrease from the original offer.
Like Johnson, if your company becomes 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. However, finding extraordinary talent to replace yourself can be challenging.
The Biggest Mistake Most Founders 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 founders 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 a comprehensive review of their background. That’s when many founders make the common error of being bamboozled by a Fortune 500 name on a resume or LinkedIn profile. While a stint at a big company may be impressive, the skills held in high regard at a Fortune 500 company tend to differ from what most young companies need.
Big companies often have well-established processes, systems, and hierarchies that have contributed to their success. People that thrive in big companies tend to excel at winning within a predetermined framework. However, in a younger, scrappier start-up, there is no framework to follow, which is why big company veterans often struggle in a more entrepreneurial environment.
Instead of basing your hires off an impressive name on a resume, look for someone innovative, comfortable with chaos, action oriented, and creative—someone with an entrepreneurial mindset.
Here are five strategies you can use to identify innovative candidates when making hiring decisions:
Right now, your company probably relies on you for a healthy dose of creativity and innovation. But if your goal is to replace yourself, following these five strategies can increase your chances of identifying innovative candidates that will bring fresh thinking and creativity to your organization.