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Updated 18 Oct 2019


The ultimate test: Stepping away

If it’s your vision to grow a high impact business, are you prepared to step away to let that happen?


30 January 2015  Share  0 comments  Print


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It takes a certain kind of character and entrepreneur to dream big and make it happen.

They’re typically quite rare, you know, the ones that went from garage to $82 billion company (if you think that number’s a little too specific to be a generalised example, that’s because it is, and I’m talking about Amazon’s Jeff Bezos who started the online shopping giant and still leads it today).

High impact entrepreneurs are often Type A personalities who like to be in the driving seat of their business and have the vision and passion to make it happen – through good times and bad.

They can also be pretty bad about taking instruction from others and will rather see through their own plans, for better or for worse.

When it’s time to step away

Each time your business grows, new things are required of you. The skills required to get your business through the start-up stage are different to the skills needed to successfully navigate a growth spurt, similarly, different skills are required once you reach large and mature business status to keep the business innovating and relevant.

The reality is that most of us haven’t won the kind of skills lottery that Jeff Bezos did, which means if your desire is to build a high-impact, large company, you may be required to step away and put in place the people who do have the skills to grow your business.

The story of Nando’s Rob Brozin

Nando’s is a brand that everyone loves, and it came from humble beginnings of Rosettenville.

Today it has over 1 000 restaurants in 30 countries, and employs more than 30 000 people. But Brozin isn’t running the business in the way he was from the outset:

“I had the skills to grow Nando’s from one restaurant to 500, but not enough of the skills necessary to grow it from 500 to 1 000, which is where we are today. That’s why I chose to step away from the day-to-day operations of the company and bring in the right kinds of leadership who had the skills and experience to take over where I left off,” says Brozin 

Brozin now focuses his time and energy on the brand’s corporate social investment projects.

Top tips for bringing in a CEO

  • Understand and appreciate the advantage of bringing in a CEO. You’re not demoting yourself, rather the right person will help your business grow, especially if you’re better at creating vision and spotting opportunity than managing day-to-day details. Your attention should be focused on business development, strategy, customer relationships and other  growth-connected tasks.
  • It’s time to get a CEO when you want to present more savvy propositions to investors, when the business is undergoing changes internally, lacks clear direction or has very large staff turnover.
  • Entrepreneurs and CEOs can work together and share the responsibility of running the business. You must be prepared to take some direction, and a CEO needs to be able to offer suggestions and corrective advice to the entrepreneur. Ensure you hire the right CEO not just on their skills and experience, but on your ability to connect and communicate well with them.
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