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  • Rebecca Ramsay

Is hiring a General Manager the key to unlocking your business growth potential?

Updated: Apr 9

By Rebecca Ramsay, Director - LeverageMe


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Have you wondered if hiring a General Manager (GM) would benefit your business? The simple answer is that incorporating the role of a General Manager in the dynamic landscape of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), can be a game-changer. As your business grows, so do its complexities and demands. I’ve put together some key points to help you identify the right time to get a GM, establish who will be the ideal candidate, and implement the hiring process to ensure your business will enjoy sustained success.


When is the right time to hire a General Manager?


While there's no one-size-fits-all answer on the right time to hire a GM for your organisation, here are some key indicators that your business might benefit from this strategic addition:


1. Scaling Challenges


Are you experiencing growth or planning on expanding? Scaling a business often requires a different set of skills, knowledge, and experience to that which delivered the initial growth and success. If that feels like where you are at, then maybe it is time to bring on an experienced GM with these skills that can help strengthen the foundation of your business and open new opportunities for growth.


2. Owner Overload


As the business owner, are you challenged by the heavy workload and frustrated by a poor work-life balance? Would you like to have more freedom and fun? Perhaps you no longer feel that you have your finger on the pulse. Your work has become reactive, and you don’t have time to plan while struggling to keep up with the changing needs of your team and operation. Are you spending less time with your family, on your hobbies and your own personal and professional development? These are all signs that you might be ready to have a GM to support and guide your team, as well as manage operations, and free your time to focus on the bigger business picture and enjoy more time for personal priorities.


3. Strategic Direction


Do you want your focus to be on steering the company's vision and strategy rather than being bogged down by operational minutiae? Is it becoming harder to pre-empt issues before they become crises and carve out time for strategic planning? This type of thinking can indicate it is time to consider a GM. Someone who can assume responsibility for executing your vision, allowing you to concentrate on your overarching business goals and long-term objectives.


Recognising these indicators can be crucial when considering the timing of introducing a General Manager into your organisation.


Who is the right person for the General Manager role?


Having recognised the need for this strong leadership position in your organisation now brings the daunting question of who is the right person for the GM role? To ensure a successful outcome and enduring partnership is much more than simply ticking boxes. You will need to find a candidate with whom you can foster a symbiotic relationship that accelerates your business in line with your vision and goals. Here are some things to look for:


1. Cultural Compatibility


Prioritise cultural alignment alongside experience and skillset. While your company culture is intangible, you will know what work style and values you and your team are comfortable with. If you value a relaxed, collaborative culture with open communication, a formal, driven, and competitive GM is not going to integrate into your organisational culture and thrive. Nor will they bring out the best in your team. Spending some time considering and jotting down these cultural priorities will save you time and potentially making an expensive mistake.


2. Values-Driven Leadership


Your General Manager needs to embody the ethos of your organisation. Seek candidates who not only possess leadership acumen but also resonate with your company's core values.


This goes beyond skills, emphasising the importance of shared values in fostering a cohesive work environment.


3. History of success


It's important that candidates can prove that they have been successful in a similar environment and relevant role. Their previous roles should have had similar demands to those of your role, along with them being able to demonstrate the required business acumen and results.


How do I hire a General Manager?


Navigating the hiring process for a General Manager can be daunting, but with a strategic approach, it is manageable. Here are my top tips to hire a GM:


1. Define the Role and the Ideal Person (see above)


Start by outlining the responsibilities, your expectations, and the qualifications you require for the GM position. Clarify what the reporting structure will look like for the team and how the role aligns with the company's objectives. How will the roles of your current team change around this new role? Along with how your role as business owner will change. What does your role involve now, and what will it be when you hire a GM?


2. Candidate Search


Where will you find a suitable candidate? You can search and curate candidates through your industry networks, talent pools, via online platforms and through your business connections. Be prepared for the time this could take, the cost involved, and for the potential number of candidates that you may need to assess to find the right fit for your organisation.


3. Interview and evaluate


Conduct comprehensive interviews to gauge candidates' suitability for the role and meticulously assess their values and work style. I also recommend that you have them complete a range of assessments to evaluate their personality style as well as to test their competencies. You will need to consider their past experiences, leadership style, and cultural fit within your organisation. Be sure to explore this beyond their written application. Strategic questioning, referee and other background checks are all valuable parts of the process. You will want to have a consistent methodology for weighing candidates up against each other. As well as to give some thought to what you will do if you narrow things down to two excellent candidates!


The hiring process is only part of the equation. You will need to have a clear plan for onboarding and integration once you've selected the ideal candidate. This will ensure a smooth transition and support your critical new team member to be set up for success in the role benefiting you, your team and your bottom line.


Hiring a General Manager sounds hard


Oftentimes business owners are ready to throw up their hands when it comes to recruitment, and the thought of having to recruit ‘another me’ is just a whole other level of ‘too hard’, so it gets put off and delayed and ultimately becomes even harder. Consider the value that a dedicated GM can bring in terms of streamlining operational efficiency, managing your team and allowing you to focus on the big picture.


How can I get help to hire a General Manager?


LeverageMe was born out of seeing how standard recruitment industry practices were not delivering for my SME coaching clients. Like anything important, hiring a GM requires a dedicated and specialist approach. We like to think of it as Management Matchmaking.


We prioritise understanding you, your business and your team so that we find your ideal candidate. You leverage our expertise and we curate personalised matches that align with your unique business needs and aspirations. Our rigorous approach ensures that every candidate meets the role and culture requirements while saving you time and money in the hiring process.


Are you still not sure if you and your business are ready to hire a GM? Or would you like more clarity on what the next steps in hiring a GM would look like? Reach out to me at rebecca@leverageme.com.au for a complimentary and confidential chat to see if your business is ready to take the next step and how you can get the process started.



Important note

ABA Advice Beyond Accounting does not provide human resources or recruitment advice. However, we can assist you with your forecasting, budgeting, and cash flow in relation to additional head count for your business. Along with managing your tax compliance in relation to salaries and wages.


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