Private equity firms have a simple recipe for making money: They identify companies they believe are undervalued, improve those companies, then sell them for far more than they paid to buy them in the first place.
Knowing how private equity firms work can serve as a roadmap for any company looking to improve operations and maximize value.
Start with these 3 things PE firms do following an acquisition in the lower middle market ($2-$15 million in EBITDA) to improve your own bottom line, whether you plan to continue operating your business or want to ready the company for a future PE investment.
In years of pairing executives with companies in need, we have learned that there are times when full-time is too much time. That’s when companies benefit from choosing a fractional executive. It’s a way to get top-notch skills for a fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost of a full-time hire.
On a webinar, InterimExecs CEO Robert Jordan laid out the 5 situations when hiring executives on a fractional basis makes the most sense for companies:
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.
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.
How do you know whether an interim executive will be the right fit for your company’s needs? Ultimately, that’s an individual decision that depends on your company. But generally, when we get a call from an executive, head of human resources, small business owner, or private equity investor, it’s because the organization is in motion. Leadership to drive growth, change, or turnaround is needed. And it’s needed fast.
Interim executives, by definition, come into difficult situations, assess them quickly, and create a plan for success. That means they have a front-row seat to the most common business mistakes companies make.
When we surveyed our RED Team interim leaders from around the world for insights into “The Big Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make,” we got an earful. While their responses varied, clear themes emerged in the areas of leadership, operations, human capital, strategy, business finances, and change initiatives.
Focusing on these fundamental business needs is a good starting point for any struggling business.
Scanning someone’s career history, what does it mean when you see the word acting in a title?
The language around interim executives, executives who specialize in growing, transforming and turning around companies can be tricky as executives in the specialty don’t always identify themselves with the same language. But in some cases acting can be another indicator that you have found an interim.
Consider your audience: is the executive being presented to the board of directors, the company at large, or to the general public?
When it comes to public companies, the language is precise and if an executive has temporarily stepped in while a permanent search takes place, they will be described as interim or acting.
Things get confusing because public companies often appoint board members to this interim or acting role who serve as more of a babysitter or placeholder. Beware that this is not the same thing as a career interim who can be identified by their career history taking on high-impact engagement after engagement, helping cause companies to grow or turn around.
The far larger use of interim executives is in private companies worldwide, whether for-profit or nonprofit.
These days, it’s easy to hire a temporary executive. Whether you want a fractional manager – someone who works part-time or on a project basis – or a full-time interim leader who can take the reins for a certain period of time, interim executive search increasingly is the go-to option.
But it can be a tricky business.
Sure, there are plenty of managers who are interested in becoming interim leaders. Chances are your HR team has interviewed more of them for vacant C-Suite positions this year than at any time in the past.
And chances are they are making some serious mistakes in interim executive search and hiring.
Here are the most common mistakes we see and how to fix them.
Every new year means new challenges and new opportunities. This new year, 2023 is no different! When we asked 204 C-level executives for their 2023 predictions, their responses reflected five clear business trends:
A surge in executive retirements and leadership departures
Millennials and Gen Z employees might get all the press for their “Great Resignation” but they aren’t the only ones who are leaving their jobs in droves. CEOs are too. The Great CEO Turnover, which peaked in 2021 and early 2022, has leveled off a bit. But it certainly doesn’t mean that your CEO is planning to stick around for the long haul.
Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas compiles a monthly report on the CEO turnover rate. The July 2022 report shows that CEO changes at U.S. companies fell to 58 in July, down 45% from the 106 CEO exits recorded in June. It was the lowest monthly total since the early pandemic departures of April 2020.
However, departing CEOs are hardly a thing of the past.
When Deloitte and independent research firm Workplace Intelligence surveyed 2,100 employees and C-level executives in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, they found that an eye-popping 70% of top management are seriously considering quitting for a job that better supports their well-being. And 81% of the top execs say that improving their well-being is more important than advancing their career.
First-year Change Agent members have access to the Interim Institute’s 4 hour audio program on the Fundamentals of Interim Management, and a one-hour strategy session to help jumpstart their interim career.
*$200 additional charge for Accelerator Program only applies for first-year members. After the first year, membership renews at $485/year.
Interim Nonprofit Executive
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