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Bringing on a Full-Time CEO

How to know when it's time to hand over the reins to someone else

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This story appears in the December 2002 issue of Teen Startups.

There are the pros and cons to being a teenage CEO. On the one hand, the "kid factor" can get you in the door; having the title CEO is always cool; and, well, you're a CEO and you're not even out of college! There are disadvantages, however--which you might not even recognize until your business starts growing. When your business starts to outgrow your limited work day, it's time to start the search for an experienced, full-time CEO.

When Is the Right Time?

This is the hardest question to answer. And it's probably going to be a decision you, assuming you're the current CEO, will have to make. Not always (for example, if you're not getting the job done so your board ousts you), but usually. So when is the right time? Your company could be growing enormously, your clients may be so satisfied that they want more, and your competitors may keep you awake all night. As a result, say hasta la vista to the basketball team and the Saturday night party, and start saying hello to poor grades. This is when you need to give up the reins. Your company can't wait for you to get out of school.

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