The Case for Hiring Part-Time or Fractional Executives

Every business owner dreams of gaining major traction in the marketplace. Fast-track growth, however, often comes at a cost. Things get taped together. There’s no process to speak of. Systems? Ha. Things go missing, including clients and team members. Lack of resources means that even the crown jewel – the company’s ability to out-innovate — may be put on hold just to keep up.

When a company grows faster than the capabilities of the leadership team, the company can hit the wall.

Smart fast-growing companies have started looking to part-time or fractional executives to provide C-suite leadership, mentorship, and the operational upgrades needed to help a company break through the ceiling to growth.

Fractional executives bring the fresh perspective of experienced C-level executives quickly and affordably. With a focus on getting results, companies find that renting the rock star exec outweighs getting 100 percent of the time of a lesser light.

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What Is an Interim Executive & Is It the Right Answer for Your Company?

What is an interim executive? It’s a highly knowledgeable and deeply experienced C-suite executive ready to step into a company in need of superior leadership.

As veterans of the interim business, we know that pairing the right interim executive with the right company is a delicate balance. After all, private equity funds or venture capital funds get one use of their dollar. Just one. Fund managers have a sacred charge of evaluating opportunities and investing the funds they’ve been entrusted with by their limited partners in hopes of maximum returns.

Likewise, we get one chance to make a great match. We must identify the interim executive with the right skills and experience and catch that executive during the brief period of time they are in between assignments assessing the next opportunity they want to take on.

So how do we best deploy genius leadership when we only get one chance every day to maximize everyone’s time, unique skillset, and results? We start by being selective about our clients.

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How an Experienced Interim CFO Can Counter Cash Flow Mismanagement

Cash flow mismanagement is a common problem among small and mid-sized businesses. But many owners do not have the experience to precisely pinpoint where cash flow mismanagement has occurred, nor the background to develop plans designed to counter those cash flow issues.

A typical small or mid-sized business owner can spend hours examining the company’s financial statement and nevertheless fail to see the underlying causes of cash flow problems, whether they be mismanagement of receivables, problems in pricing strategy, erosion of margins, escalating operational costs or other cash flow problems.

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Business Exit Strategy Guide for Owners: Choosing the Right Exit Strategy

When it’s time to step away from the business you’ve built — because you’re ready to retire, you want to pursue another opportunity, or for some other reason — what’s the right way to exit your business?

The short answer is: It depends. 

Here, we lay out five examples of exit strategies and look at who should consider each one.

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Business Exit Strategy Guide for Owners: The Importance of Succession Planning

The Roy family of “Succession,” the critically acclaimed series about which of the Roy family offspring would take the reins of the family-owned media conglomerate Waystar RoyCo., should serve as a cautionary tale for any business owner considering retirement. Business succession planning cannot be left to underlings to duke it out for control.

Succession planning is important for any business — family-owned or not. It’s critical for business continuity, preserving the legacy, and a smooth transition.

When it’s time to step away from the helm and choose a successor, there are three options available:

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Business Exit Strategy Guide for Owners: Identifying Potential Successors

Actually choosing the person who will be your successor is the second step in this process. The first step is identifying where the company will be when it’s time for the successor to step into a leadership role. Do you expect the company to be sailing along at an even keel, continuing to do what it already does so well? Or are there rougher waters ahead that will require more creative leadership?

Having a keen idea of where your company will be when you plan to step away from daily leadership is critical to understanding what competencies and skills the new leader will need – and to maximizing the worth of the organization as you convert your ownership interests into cash.

Once you have a good idea of that, it’s time to begin searching for just the right person to lead your company into the future.

And, a side note: Even if your exit strategy is to sell the company, you cannot skip this step! The buyer will want to know that you have made plans for a smooth transfer of leadership.

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Business Exit Strategy Guide for Owners: Family Business Transition to the Next Generation

There’s bad news and good news when it comes to family business transition to the next generation.

First, the bad news: Only about one-third of businesses survive that transition. Here’s how the Harvard Business Review put it in a 2022 article: “In many family businesses, the tension between the eagerness of the next generation’s leaders to take control, and the founding generation’s willingness to relinquish control, is the source of many failed relationships and companies.”

Now, the good news: It doesn’t have to be that way. With a lot of planning, honest conversation, and realistic expectations, family businesses can survive and thrive for generations to come.

Here, we dive into the challenges of transitioning a family business to second-generation leadership and how to navigate those challenges successfully.

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Business Exit Strategy Guide for Owners:  Dealing with Conflict in a Family Business & Preserving Harmony

It’s no surprise that family business conflict is common among family-owned businesses. Or that it most often stems from family dynamics. The question is how to handle it.

There are plenty of business consultants who can step in to help companies manage family relationships in a business setting. The desired outcome is family cohesion and a successful family business.

In some cases, that can only happen when you bring in non-family members to run the business in the interest of promoting family harmony.

But, before we dive into that, let’s look at the biggest conflicts in family businesses.

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Business Exit Strategy Guide for Owners: Selling Your Business to Private Equity

Selling your business to private equity is a potentially very lucrative business exit strategy. In fact, the second sale — when the PE firm sells the company outright to recoup its initial investment — can be even more lucrative than the first deal when you sell to a PE firm.

But selling your business to a private equity fund is a complicated sale process and you could end up partners for a number of years before getting a big buyout when the second sale closes. So it’s important to understand all of the ins and outs before embarking on this path.

Here, we share 9 important questions you should ask if you are considering selling your business to private equity.

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The Value of Business Coaching: Do You Need an Outsider’s Perspective?

By Robert Jordan

When your company is stalled or facing transition, there are two ways to get help: adding a new leader to the team or helping the leaders you have be the best they can be. When you need a new leader, an interim, part-time or fractional executive can be on site quickly, leading the change. When you have the leadership your company needs, bringing in a business coach can help him or her rise to the new challenge.

Yes, our InterimExecs RED Team executives sometimes play a mentoring role at companies where they serve. But that is a specific use case to mentor someone who is being trained into higher responsibility. Most interim and fractional executives do not consider their operational roles, even if including mentoring, to be the same activity as a dedicated business coach.

Business or executive coaches are an external resource. They work with the executive on leadership skills and personal development.

As entrepreneurs and small business owners, my partner, Olivia Wagner, and I have long understood the benefits of business coaching. We have met with a business coach and used his services to help us refine our business strategy and cement our professional partnership.

Business coaching offers a distinct form of leadership development. So, I wondered, how do business coaching services do what they do so well?

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