STRATEGY

New Boss on the Block

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Many entrepreneurs have a problem bringing outside managers into their companies. Kevin Owens, CEO of Select Design, aproducer of custom corporate sportswear and related items in Burlington, Vt., avoided pitfalls by working out a carefultransition to integrate the new hire, a sales manager, into the business.

Owens recruited his sales manager just after passing $1 million in revenues. "We hired him a little bit before we had to,because we anticipated the training effort. Although this person had 10 years of industry experience, my partner and I neededto spend a lot of time with him on the company's image and story." For the first year, for instance, Owens scheduled time totalk about such things before and after the sales chief made a presentation. And when he first came on board, Owens handedover some -- but not all -- of the company's key accounts to him.

The arrangements put some healthy pressure on the manager to prove he could bring in new customers (he did), and it hasallowed Owens to keep a hand in sales. Four and a half years after his arrival, the sales manager has made a crucialcontribution to bringing the company to the next level. In 1998, Select Design had about 50 employees, and sales had reached$5 million.

Last updated: Oct 21, 1999




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