A typical startup founder is incredibly devoted to the business they worked so hard to launch. Passing the torch to someone else to lead the venture as it grows can be a challenge not only for the outgoing CEO but also for the rest of the organization and the company’s customer base.

Once a new chief executive is brought on, they would be wise to consider their next steps carefully before making significant changes to the startup’s brand or undertaking a total rebrand. The tips below from members of Forbes Agency Council can help ensure a smooth transition and continued growth for the company.

1. Consult With Colleagues

Too often, I have seen a new CEO rush to create their own imprint by making changes without a thorough understanding of the brand’s history. Whether this is a power play or the sincere belief that change is necessary and urgent, my advice is to not take action before consulting with colleagues. This approach not only protects the brand but also lets the CEO show an open mind and inclusiveness. – Carol Levine, energi PR Inc

2. Develop A Collaborative Culture First

You want to develop a collaborative company culture and leadership team. Align around key customer audiences and personas, the competitive landscape and the brand positioning you aspire to achieve. Nail these aspects down, then delegate and empower your brand leaders to get to work fine-tuning or reimagining. It’s a leadership moment for you. What message do you want to send? – TJ Martin,Cramer

3. Articulate Short- And Long-Term Visions

Brand strategy is the face of business strategy. The new CEO should be able to clearly articulate both their short-term and long-term visions for the company. The next challenge is deciding where to start. Consider internal changes first. Significant brand changes can come from new hiring, training, onboarding and communication practices. Get this right, and external messaging and marketing is easy. – John Geletka, Geletka+

4. Understand Customer Pain Points

The CEO needs to first understand the customer’s pain points and their industry challenges, then “take a look under the hood” at the internal marketing and brand mix to see what’s working and what isn’t. The chief experience officer, chief marketing officer and the brand director need to be involved every step of the way. At all costs, avoid doing marketing to please the new CEO—always market to the customer! – Azadeh Williams, AZK Media

5. Do A Thorough Media Training Session

The new CEO should be locked in a room with a cynical, expert journalist who is under a nondisclosure agreement to be interviewed on the company’s story and the vision that the CEO has for the future. Let the journalist pick holes in the answers, listen to what lands and what bounces, and help shape the narrative and strategy accordingly. A good media training session will benefit all aspects of the new CEO’s role, way beyond public relations. – Richard Cook,Champion Communications Ltd.

6. Revisit The Mission, Vision And Core Values

Revisit the mission, vision and core values of the company. Are these still reflective of what the company is today and where the CEO plans to take the company in the coming decade? If a rebrand is on the table for consideration, conduct an assessment of the current brand from the perspective of the market, customers, employees and other stakeholders. – Wendy Covey, TREW Marketing

7. Audit Business Goals, Revenue Streams And Sales Processes

Do a comprehensive audit on all key business goals, revenue streams and sales processes before you evaluate brand and marketing analytics. Make sure that the message you’re ranking for—and the one that’s bringing in leads—is what you want to be known for. Change must be driven by data because it is the consumer’s response that matters. – Vix Reitano, Agency 6B

8. Ensure All Stakeholders Embrace The Brand Strategy

The first step is to ensure the brand strategy is fully understood and embraced by internal and external stakeholders. A good brand strategy should align well with a solid business strategy and vice versa. A new CEO will have a new business charter, and if either of those strategies are in conflict with the other, an audit and research are highly likely to identify gaps in need of realignment and help set the next course of action. – Scott Gardner, Liquid Agency

9. Get In There And Live The Brand As It Currently Is

You need a comprehensive understanding of what you’re inheriting. Get your hands dirty through experience. Interact with the brand’s values; see who it reaches and impacts, how it got to its current form and what the employee and customer sentiments are. Observe, listen and record this information, then make a data-backed decision. Any changes should be intentional and iterative. – Johnnie Munger, Wonderful Collective

10. Get Customers, The Market And Employees Aligned

Getting three things—customers, the market and employees—into alignment is very important. For a rebrand to take place, the first thing to do would be to survey customers to get a net promoter score and some qualitative answers. Then, conduct thorough market research to test a hypothesis that you’re debating. Lastly, have conversations with boots-on-the-ground employees to understand the impact and effect a rebrand will have. – Candice Georgiadis,Digital Day

11. Get Buy-In From Key Employees And Customers

The new CEO should spend time with employees to understand the company culture and meet with key customers to identify the company’s unique strengths and areas for improvement. The CEO should then plan a strategy that is consistent with the corporate culture and designed to improve the company. The last thing to do is convince key employees and customers to buy into the changes before executing them. – Ajay Prasad, GMR Web Team

12. Build Meaningful Connections With Employees

It all comes down to employee dynamics. Before any significant changes take place, it’s important to build meaningful connections with the employees of the company so that it feels as if the change is coming from within, rather than being forced upon them, which could alienate people and turn them against the new CEO. – Rafael Romis,Weberous Web Design

13. Double Down On The Positives First

The new boss has to understand what was and wasn’t working, both internally and externally. They should first show their commitment to ensuring continuity by doubling down on the positives before proceeding with the early steps of a rebrand. Consumers and employees need to still recognize the company six months or a year down the line, and that only happens if it clearly maintains its values. –Tellef Lundevall, Accelerated Digital Media

14. Identify And Preserve The Core Mission And Values

The new CEO should take their time before rebranding. They need to settle into the role and learn more about the nature of the company from the highest level. If they’re ready to change the brand, they need to identify and preserve the company’s core mission and values—they’re what made the business successful in the first place. Working with various stakeholders will help with that. –Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH

15. Do What’s Best For The Team And The Company

This actually took place in our company. A few years back, I passed the torch to Srdjan Spaic, who brought in fresh perspectives and ideas that permeate our lead generation, employer branding and team management processes. We believe a soft transition is key. Whether they’re making substantial changes or maintaining the course, the new CEO should ensure they do what’s best for the team and the company. – Dejan Popovic, PopArt Studio