As companies are desperately trying to find competent staff who will stay, I want to suggest that your best hire might be someone who understands how a business is run – a former entrepreneur. Why hire a former entrepreneur? Here are five good reasons.
Is comfortable in ambiguity
I think you’ll agree that things just keep getting faster and changing more frequently. Given the rate of change of technology and market fluctuations and supply chain issues, you need employees who are comfortable in ambiguity. Entrepreneurs are used to mapping a course forward, often in new and different ways. They are able to think through possibilities, and set up systems and processes.
Does your business need to set up a sales function? A former entrepreneur who specializes in sales training with a background in sales might be the perfect person to bring in to write the job descriptions, hire the right people, and then train and manage them.
An employee who has always worked for someone else may not naturally consider the cost of goods or technology or services, and whether there will be a return on that investment. I have found that former entrepreneurs can’t turn off the little voice that says, you’re paying that much for that thing? Are you nuts?
Your former entrepreneur employee may not be able to stop themselves from looking for different sources or vendors, or negotiating better pricing, which will benefit your bottom line.
Contributes in multiple roles
Most companies are running lean and would benefit from a team member who could contribute in multiple roles. Most entrepreneurs have had to do all of the job functions in their business, although they may not have liked all of them.
Do you need someone to calm down an angry client? Do you need someone to put a pitch deck together? Do you need someone to create a budget for a new project? Your former entrepreneur employee has likely done all of those things.
Sees the big picture and task breakdown
Your former entrepreneur employee may take for granted that everyone can do this, but it is likely they will shine when looking at your go-to-market strategy and planning for executing on that. From articulating the vision and goals to assigning responsibilities, milestones, and deadlines, your versatile former entrepreneur employee may be the outside set of eyes and voice of reason your company desperately needs.
Builds relationships with all levels of staff
An entrepreneur who has run their own business has hired, trained, and interfaced with every person in the business at some time. They know the roles and responsibilities, and how people are compensated. This makes it easier for them to understand what drives a colleague, and what might entice them to do something new or differently from the way they have done it in the past.
You may have concerns that a former entrepreneur might not be able to play well with others or take direction. In my experience, most former entrepreneurs have compelling reasons for wanting to join the corporate workforce and are thrilled to not be the CEO and the janitor.
Many former entrepreneurs say they are looking forward to brainstorming ideas with a team, or are excited to be working primarily in their genius zone, e.g., sales, business development, product development, marketing, and not having to do or oversee other functions like payroll or IT.
So, when you are hiring professionals to work in your business, definitely consider a former entrepreneur. They might be the perfect person for the job.