Interim Management for Small Companies
The topic for this discussion is “Interim Management for Small Companies”. First things first; we realize most small companies are well managed by the founders or professional managers. However, in almost every case, when we asked company leaders about a pet project or a project that can’t seem to be wrapped up, we learn of a need that can be filled by an Interim.
Here are a few we’ve experienced:
- Budgeting beyond the next cash crisis and banker/investor relationships
- Sales growth and new product/market development
- Strategy development and execution implementation beyond running the business day-to-day
- Competitive analysis and a realistic view of the competition (including market trend impact on the business)
- Crisis management and the implementation of processes to head-off or control future events
- Creating an effective Advisory Board for companies without a formal Board of Directors
In most instances the company is trying solve these issues with existing personnel. Each of these issues, and more, can be resolved by employing an Interim.
While this may seem obvious, the common belief is that a small business can’t afford a professional Interim. One possibility is to hire an Interim “part-time.” Perhaps the Interim works a few days per week or month and focuses on a specific issue. Perhaps the company can hire more than one part-time Interim, if there are multiple specific focus areas.
There are also situations where an “outsider” brings expertise based on experience. For example, the sale of a small company, transition to a successor, dealing with family members or improving efficiency in a staid, complacent culture.
Other situations to consider using an Interim include:
- Times of difficulty in banking relationships
- Facing large competitors entering a regional market
- Finding ways to compete with customer trends
- Dealing with outdated internal practices in a digital customer world
One of the best uses of Interims is to help formulate the future for the company. Fuzzy vision and difficult decisions can demotivate employees and bring the company to a standstill. Examples include:
- Decision to sell or keep the company or bring in new management
- Selling off non-core assets or product lines
- Is succession planning adequate to fix the problem
- When a layoff is necessary during turbulent times in the company
Most importantly, an “outsider’s” perspective is a great way for a small company Founder or Professional Manager to sound out ideas without creating a distraction among employees. Once a direction is decided a message can be crafted to ensure understanding and buy-in for all involved. The key issue may be to have the “outsider” deliver the message. There is no company history or politics for the Interim and there will be no legacy distractions since the Interim will leave the company when the project is completed.
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“It is indeed an honor for me to provide ES Interims with this testimonial. My relationship
with ES Interims began more than five years ago when I met one of the founders of the
Company. Since that time ES Interims has been instrumental in obtaining consulting
positions for me in the Supply Chain Management (SCM) area. They have always dealt
with me in an extremely professional and courteous manner. Their method of doing
business goes way beyond just the employer employee relationship.
They have always treated me with dignity and respect and have provided me with the
opportunity to utilize my talents to benefit clients.”
“Operation Kindness is the oldest and largest no‐kill animal shelter in North Texas.
Tammy Guiso served as Operation Kindness’ Interim Executive Director from February
through April 2008. Tammy came to us from ES Interims during a stressful time at the
shelter, following the sudden resignations of the former Executive Director and another
senior staff member. Mere words cannot describe how impressed my fellow board
members and I were with Tammy’s performance.
Her results exceeded my wildest expectations. We had hoped that Tammy would
hold things together until the Board of Directors could hire a new Executive Director.
Tammy did that and much, much more. Tammy left Operation Kindness a much better
organization than she found it. Her impact has been profound and will be lasting. I can
recommend her services enthusiastically and without reservation.”
“Working with Operation Kindness was a fabulous experience that I will never forget.
The dog and cat rescue shelter was in need of an interim executive director while the
board conducted an extremely thorough search for a new director. The organization
was in great need of help with leadership, planning, budgeting and general operations.
I was able to take my previous experience and skills to help them through a very rough
patch in their organizational growth. I also participated in the interviewing and hiring for
their new executive director, ensuring that the organization would continue to grow and
thrive after I had the privilege of working with their board and staff. ES Interims did a
great job of matching my skills with Operation Kindness, which had beneficial outcomes
for all of us. I still carry a part of Operation Kindness with me every day, especially since
I adopted Ozzie the dog while I was there!
Thanks for the opportunity to contribute Jim.”
“Working with ES Interims for the past six months has been an excellent experience. I
have gained exposure to the international market as well as the domestic market for
the services I offer Teaming up with ES Interims and their team of industry experts gets
me in front of the right clients that needed my expertise, every time. They match your
abilities to their client’s needs exactly and never waste your time.
I am looking forward to a long working relationship with ES Interims and their staff of