Say It Ain't So

Temporarily Yours

Interim executives offer short-term solutions.

A hot trend in the temporary employment industry offers a great resource for growing small businesses: placing high-level executives in small companies to work for short periods of time.

"One of the key challenges small businesses face is how to access the best talent to help their companies grow," says Paul Dinte, president of Dinte Resources Inc., a retained executive search and interim executive appointment firm in McLean, Virginia. Dinte says an interim executive can handle a short-term project, such as testing a particular idea before the company makes a full commitment; managing a product development process; developing strategic plans; or anything else a senior executive would do, but on a temporary basis.

The advantage of hiring an interim executive instead of a management consultant is that the executive actually comes on board as a hands-on part of your company, rather than simply coming in long enough to make suggestions and then leaving you to deal with the implementation. Also, in a typical situation, Dinte says the interim executive will cost about two-thirds what a management consultant would charge for the same work. Fees for interim executives range from $75 to $250 an hour, depending on the level of expertise required.

Choose an interim executive agency carefully; not every temporary service firm specializes in high-level managers. Check the references of both the agency and the candidate. Dinte advises being very specific about what you need, what you expect to accomplish and how you'll measure the results. "When the parameters are properly laid out in the beginning, there's a greater probability of success," he says. "Be sure your contract includes a provision to deal with the situation if you find the compatibility isn't there or the project needs changes."

Contact Sources

Dinte Resources Inc., (703) 448-3300, http://www.dinte.com

IRC - The Employers Council, 143 S. Main St., #903, Salt Lake City, UT 84111-1946, (801) 364-8479

Shale Paul, (850) 893-8327, http://www.shalecoach.com

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This article was originally published in the September 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Say It Ain't So.

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