So you've decided it's time to hire a CFO? Now comes the hard part: finding the person with the right training and experience plus a temperament that suits your sometimes-crazy growing company. Here's how to begin your search:
Network with everybody. That includes other people in your industry, your banker, your lawyer and other advisers. Ideally, you're looking for someone with prior experience at an entrepreneurial company.
Track downsizings. As Clark Hubbard of CSI Data Systems discovered, the hiring market for CFOs is full of opportunities because a lot of good people lost jobs during the most recent cycle of downsizings, especially at larger companies. By contacting organizations that specialize in helping displaced financial staffers or executives, you might be able to hire top talent for less than top dollar.
Be flexible. If the people you're interviewing want higher salaries than you can pay, consider the type of part-time or outsourced arrangement that Yoyodyne used. (That can often be a good interim solution for growth companies whose staffing needs exceed their cash realities.) Ask your advisers and local industry associations to recommend CFO-outsourcing organizations with good track records.
Hire an executive recruiter. This is the costliest option, since you'll probably have to pay a hefty fee (typically a large percentage of the first year's salary). However, if you can afford a recruiter, you will probably be able to fine-tune your search to fit your needs.