An Entrepreneur Prepares to Pass the Torch

It's a classic dilemma. A first-time entrepreneur creates a thriving company from scratch with the potential to be The Next Big Thing, but her investors thinks she needs an experienced CEO and management team to take it there. They also bet future investors will want to see seasoned leaders in place. To make this happen, the first step, traditionally, is to forge a succession plan that keeps the company's momentum going and doesn't disrupt the culture the founder labored to create. This is one big challenge facing Michelle White, the founder of Leland, Mich.-based Michelle's Miracle, which makes a dietary supplement from tart cherries. White thinks her $800,000, four-person company, with its 2,200-plus regular customers who enthuse about the cherry concentrate's health properties, relieving arthritis and providing better sleep, could quickly become a $100 million company (think POM Wonderful) if it landed the capital necessary to hire a dream team to complement her existing team.

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