How Can I Find a CEO for My Startup?

You might have great ideas but not the skills to build a company. We break down what you should look for in a chief executive.

learn more about Ryan Himmel

By Ryan Himmel

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

How can I find someone to lead the way for my startup healthcare website? The website is completed and has had great reviews in beta testing with family and friends. I need investment capital, business organization and someone with knowledge to secure an initial workforce. I have some initial funds to help start the process but not the experience or time to do it by myself. I’m stuck. Any ideas?

I’m impressed by your ability to recognize that you aren’t the right person to lead the company. There aren't many entrepreneurs out there that can say they would be able to give up the reins even if it meant a brighter future for the company. I commend you for taking this action. It is my belief that sometimes the people that build the ship aren’t necessarily the best people to sail it. With that in mind, how should you go about finding a CEO for your company?

Experience will likely be the greatest factor that you should consider in finding the right CEO for your health-care startup. Try to find someone that complements your skill-set and experience. You can start this process by building a list of all of the attributes that you don't have that you wish you had prior to developing your business. Given the nature of your question, I would recommend that this person has previously led an early-stage online business through the growth process. Specifically, this person’s experience should cover successful fundraising, building a team, and navigating the un-chartered waters of monetizing a new market. Health-care experience will be a plus, but it's not necessarily a must as long as this person has the ability to find someone else that can fill that gap. While every business is different, I believe that a strong leader can usually grow any business.

Related: How Can I Hire Exceptional Individuals?

Once you've identified the key attributes you're looking for in a leader, you'll need to start reaching out to people in your network and beyond. Ask people that you trust if they know someone with the background you are looking for that might have interest in the business. It doesn't necessarily have to be someone that is currently looking for a new job, but rather someone interested a great opportunity. Attending industry and networking events as well as seeking guidance from advisors can be very helpful. Please note that many companies actually are able to find their key hires from referrals from their board of advisors. If you don't have any advisors, try to seek them out as well.

Related: How can I recruit quality employees?

After you've identified a few individuals that are interested, you're going to have to do some due diligence. Specifically, you'll want to do a thorough background check, request personal references and thoroughly review their past businesses. Think of it less like a new hire and more as an investment. You're going to have to act like an investor and ask them to put together a business plan detailing how they would lead the company. In addition, you’re also going to have to sell them on the opportunity and why they should join your mission. It won’t be easy, but if you present to them a great opportunity that they can believe in, you’ll have a new leader.

Ryan Himmel

Head of Financial Partnerships, Xero Americas

Ryan Himmel is a CPA and financial technology executive who has dedicated over a decade of his work toward providing solutions to help accountants and small-business owners better run their firms. Himmel currently leads financial partnerships in the Americas for Xero.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

American Airlines Sued After Teen Dies of Heart Attack Onboard Flight to Miami

Kevin Greenridge was traveling from Honduras to Miami on June 4, 2022, on AA Flight 614 when he went into cardiac arrest and became unconscious mid-flight.


How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.


After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.

Author Karen Inglis breaks down the strategies and tactics you need to generate awareness and sales for your self-published book.

Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Thought Leaders

5 Small Daily Habits Self-Made Millionaires Use to Grow Their Wealth

We've all seen what self-made millionaires look like on TV, but it's a lot more subtle than that. Brian Tracy researched what small daily habits these successful entrepreneurs adopted on their journey from rags to riches.

Business News

Jake Paul and Lindsay Lohan Fined $400,000 for 'Illegally Touting' Crypto

The SEC just disclosed that eight celebrities agreed to a massive settlement without admitting guilt.