As the labor market continues to tighten, there are a significant number of jobs – about 6.7 million – remaining unfilled. That means for all businesses, and particularly small businesses that may have a harder time attracting talent, creativity in terms of seeking out potential employee candidates is imperative.
One group often overlooked is former entrepreneurs. Ex-entrepreneurs provide a wealth of experience that can be leveraged by a business to make a fantastic employee.
Some businesses may be concerned that someone used to running the show wouldn’t thrive as an employee. However, Catherine Morgan, a business consultant with Point A to Point B Transitions, disagrees.
Morgan offers six reasons why former entrepreneurs make fantastic employees and should be a top consideration when looking for candidates.
1. Ex-Entrepreneurs Know How to Manage Change: As businesses are being disrupted by technology and market needs, Morgan says ex-entrepreneurs fit the bill perfectly. “Ex-entrepreneurs are comfortable in fluid environments. They will be able to more easily navigate management or market changes.” This is a skill that is hard to learn on the job.
2. Ex-Entrepreneurs Are Multi-Tasking Mavens: The ability to wear multiple hats might be overlooked on a resume, but shouldn’t be in the hiring process. Morgan points out that, “Many, if not most, companies are trying to do more with fewer resources. Entrepreneurs have learned a wide array of skills and have performed many job functions in their businesses. These professionals can be great additions in thinly staffed organizations because they can add value in multiple roles.”
3. Ex-Entrepreneurs Can Make Decisions: Decisive employees can help lift the burden of the CEO in a small business. As Morgan shares, “Ex-entrepreneurs are not afraid of making decisions because they made them every single day in their businesses. Decisiveness is one of their super powers.”
4. Ex-Entrepreneurs Understand Financial Implications of Decisions: While making decisions is one skill, understanding the financial implications is another. What business isn’t looking for employees who understand return on investment? This is even more critical for small businesses. “Many entrepreneurs have bootstrapped their businesses,” Morgan says. “Ex-entrepreneurs are hard-wired to evaluate costs and returns on investments. They may even show your company where it can save money!”
5. Ex-Entrepreneurs Will Bring a Fresh Perspective: Often, those that aren’t close to a business can see things that those inside can’t. It’s that whole “can’t see the forest for the trees” problem. Morgan says bringing in an ex-entrepreneur will give your company an outside perspective. “This can be especially helpful if most of your employees have been at your company for a long time. The ex-entrepreneur’s get-it-done attitude and experience as a business owner might be exactly what you need to shake things up.”
6. Ex-Entrepreneurs Are Resourceful: If you need help finding new markets to explore, launching new products or mastering a new technology, a former entrepreneur could be your best hire. Morgan emphatically agrees. “Hire an ex-entrepreneur! They are used to building the plane while flying it. Moreover, they tend to be life-long learners, so if they don’t know how to do something, they will figure it out along the way.” This is a compelling skill that is hard to uncover in a traditional search process.
Morgan also adds, “If you have a new position or a new business venture, you can’t find a better candidate than an ex-entrepreneur. In fact, you might want to actively recruit for one.” Having someone that is used to uncertainty and is agile can help you define and execute the role in ways that you can’t currently imagine.
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About Carol Roth
Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File ® legacy planning system, “recovering” investment banker, billion-dollar dealmaker, investor, entrepreneur, national media personality and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett-produced technology competition show, America’s Greatest Makers and TV host and contributor, including host of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy. She is also an advisor to companies ranging from startups to major multi-national corporations and has an action figure made in her own likeness.
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