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Your career doesn’t have to stay along the same path. In fact, most of us thrive when we’re pushed on to new pastures. So when an executive headhunter calls, it pays to approach the situation with an open mind to something out of the ordinary…

A company that’s raised investment to make good on its growth plans may present such an opportunity to leaders looking for a fresh challenge… Yet it’s not a fool’s game to play: private equity-backed ventures have a lot at stake for everyone involved.

This is what it means to take charge of one.

Discover the mutual demands

Investors want to see results. Their cash is handed over on a few conditions – namely, that the business’ performance aligns with the agreed schedule. Owners will be aware of this, as will everyone on the investment board. Everyone, from middle management to the staff on the ground, will influence what happens next.

Your role will play a pivotal role in making those relationships line up. Motivation is essential. You’ll be a good talker, and an equally good listener. Stakeholders have to be aware of the grand picture, yet some are on a ‘need to know’ basis. In order to effectively lead a private equity-backed business, you must translate a core message in a way that is relevant to those you’re managing. The culture you create and drive in the organisation will lead to the results and output you need.

Show keen analytical thinking

Fancy yourself a good leader? Actionable steps for sales, service targets, timings and expansion plans are crucial to making that happen. The investors will want to see hard data behind what you do. You will have hard KPIs P&Ls, NPS’ et al, but the softer ones are important too – what is your Glassdoor rating, how good is your labour churn rate, where are you on engagement?

Promising to deliver X or Y result is not enough. Map the progressions the business will take, including potential sunk costs or seasonal factors that affect some areas of work. Private equity will have been secured on momentum that’s already there. Your role is to prove how much stronger it’s becoming now that you’re on board. Often this includes providing synergies from a ‘buy and build’ strategy. This isn’t always purely about taking cost out, but that’s almost always a by-product of making efficiencies.

Be rigorous about saving cash

Typical investment cycles dictate that you need to stick to plan and continually improve so that you create value organically, and integrate and gain synergies from any acquisitions. The continual striving for success means you will need to regularly negotiate with suppliers and review or cut services or tools you no longer rely on. You will have to be innovative and try fresh sales tactics out to diversify the business. A leader that constantly improves is sure to impress his or her backers. Demonstrating relentless devotion to being better is reflected in your business’ bottom line and also in its value when it comes to refinance or sell.

Executive headhuntersare experts at placing candidates for these (and other) influential positions. SPE Resourcing are top of the tree. Private equity-backed firms make up a large part of our client base, coming to us for our extensive knowledge and trusted opinion. There’s little we don’t know about the traits and skills necessary for senior leadership roles in this sector. Contact us today to find out more.