Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 23rd 2015 Contents Q.: I'm an aspiring entrepreneur, and a
big fan of yours. I started launching
businesses at a very young age (I'm 25
now). While not many have done well, I
currently co-own two companies; a
surf-oriented travel agency and Web
site and a fruit export company.
My question is this: How do you mas-
ter the art of creating businesses that
can later be successfully managed by
other people? And how do you moti-
vate the person to whom you've dele-
gated management responsibilities to
care for the business as though it were
his own? Also, is it possible to do so
with small or medium-sized business-
es that aren't earning millions of dol-
Gad Levy, Israel
Ensuring that someone else can
eventually run the business
that you re building depends
on one key thing: whether or
not you find the right person.
As I ve pointed out before in
this column, the people you hire will make or
break you; and this is true no matter how big
your company is.
This why I ve insisted on being involved in
senior-level hiring decisions at all of our Virgin
companies over the years, even if that some-
times means flying applicants all the way to
Necker Island to meet; a practice I have yet
to hear complaints about!
And I m certainly not the only entrepreneur
who understands how important hiring deci-
sions are. My friend Larry Page, the co-founder
and CEO of Google---a US$400 billion com-
pany that hires over 4,000 people a year---
insists on having the final say on whether or
not to make a job offer to anyone being con-
sidered for a leadership role.
Once you delegate responsibilities, the people
making decisions will handle many important
aspects of your business. But how do you
make sure that you can have 100 per cent
confidence in their choices?
Well, if you keep a constant stream of strong
candidates flowing into every position from
the moment you launch your business, pro-
moting from within may be a great solution.
Then when an executive or manager does
leave, you should try to give that job to some-
one who is already working for your company;
they will already know your business s
strengths and weaknesses, and have the sup-
port of the rest of the team.
That said, there will be times when you ll
need to consider bringing in new people, par-
ticularly if you re in a situation where your
business is becoming stale. Be sure to take a
close look at people who have thrived in dif-
ferent industries and jobs---these people tend
to be versatile, good at tackling problems cre-
atively, and to possess transferable skills. To
find such candidates, ask people during inter-
views what jobs they ve left off their resumes.
Don t get hung up on qualifications. A person
who has multiple degrees in your field isn t
always a better choice than someone who has
a broader experience and a good personali-
ty.Another important consideration is whether
or not an applicant fits into your company s
culture. The right person will build upon what
you ve created, but the wrong person can bring
it all down very quickly; and culture can take
an awfully long time to rebuild.
A great way of gauging whether an applicant
will fit with your company s culture is to ask
two or three employees who will be working
with this person to join the interview process
at some point and ask a few questions of their
This process lets you observe how an appli-
cant interacts with them. Look for clues about
whether he is fun, friendly and caring; all indi-
cations that he understands teamwork and
values helping others.
Pay close attention to what candidates say
about your industry or business during inter-
views. Occasionally you ll run into an applicant
who has so many insights that you ll want to
keep talking after the interview is finished. If
her resume is not the best fit, it might be a
good idea to take a risk and hire her anyway.
Mavericks who see opportunities where others
see problems can energise your whole group.
Ultimately, though, the best way of making
sure that your staff will look after your com-
pany is to look after them; treating them with
respect, offering good benefits, flexible working
hours, and whatever other perks you can offer.
Take care of your employees, and they ll take
care of your business.
It s as simple as that.
(Richard Branson is the founder of the
Virgin Group and companies such as Virgin
Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Mobile and
Virgin Active. He maintains a blog at
can follow him on Twitter at
twitter.com/richardbranson. To learn more
about the Virgin Group: www.virgin.com.)
(Questions from readers will be answered
in future columns. Please send them to
RichardBranson@nytimes.com. Please include
your name, country, e-mail address and the
name of the Web site or publication where
you read the column.)
JULY 23 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG15
When it's time
over the reins
Finding the right
people to take over
When it's time to hand over the day-to-
day management responsibilities at one
of your businesses to someone new,
keep these tips in mind:
• Promote from within: Often, your
best bet for finding a successor will be to
choose from the great people already
working at your company.
• Make sure they fit in: If you must hire
from outside your company, make sure
that your new employee fits into the
company culture that you've worked to
• Take a chance on a maverick: If a can-
didate doesn't have the best resume, but
shares good insights and shows a devo-
tion to teamwork, she may be worth hir-
ing over someone who is more qualified
Links Archive July 22nd 2015 July 24th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page