How to Recruit Superstar Recruiters – Part 1

By August 30, 2015Recruitment

Download the audio of this episode on SoundCloud.

This is a MUST WATCH video on How To Recruit Superstar Recruiters For Your Recruitment Business

Part1: The 7 Biggest Hiring Mistakes I’ve Made!

SUMMARY
  • The number one universal challenge for recruitment business owners is finding, recruiting, training, motivating and retaining great recruiters.
  • The key to growing your recruitment business is process, automation and a great team.
  • Learn from the 7 biggest hiring mistakes I made!
  • Watch the video to get the full training.
  • It’s critical advice if you want to operate a business that runs smoothly and with more profit
NEWS & OFFERS

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3. My ‘Recruiters Live Lounge’ video podcast is now available via my website. Click the link to watch and listen to episodes with some of the most inspiring recruitment leaders in our industry today. https://royripper.com/podcast/

4. Free video recruitment training available to you by clicking this link: https://royripper.com/videos/

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES FROM VIDEO

FULL TRANSCRIPT

So, how to recruit superstars for your recruitment business – why this subject? Well over the last couple of weeks, I have spoken to lots and lots of recruitment business owners world-wide.

I asked every single one of them, “What’s the number one challenge in your recruitment Business right now? What’s the one thing that frustrates you? The one thing that’s a struggle in terms of being able to do this?”

Overwhelmingly, all of those owners have opened up and they’ve told me about their businesses and the challenges they face.

The #1 challenge

The number one universal challenge was finding, recruiting, training, motivating and retaining great recruiters. I want to help you by tackling not all of that today but a major, major part of it.

Today I’m going to show you how you can learn from the 7 biggest howlers that I’ve made in my recruiting career, over 27 years of doing this – the 7 biggest mistakes that I ever made. What I’m going to hope is that you’ll learn from those mistakes and hopefully not repeat them.

I’m also going to talk to you about 9 killer questions that you must ask. I’m not going to labour those things. I’m just going to say to you, “These are the 9 killer questions that you must ask if you are recruiting recruiters, you’re trying to bring somebody in to work for you, whether they’re a rookie, whether they’re a veteran, whether they’re your best friend, whatever.” If you’re going to bring them into your business, you have to be asking these 9 questions. (see part 2 of blog series for the 9 killer questions)

Then finally, I’m going to give you a killer strategy – a strategy that one of my mentors taught to me all those years ago and it’s something that I’ve used, not only in my recruitment businesses, but in my training business and with all of my coaching clients. I teach them this one strategy and I’m going to share that with you today. (see part 3 of blog series for the 1 killer strategy)

I’ve been where you are

Look, I’ve been where you guys are. If you’re business owners, I’ve been where you’ve been. Many of you will know already that I’ve worked with, in fact I’ve worked for over 27 years. That definitely makes me feel like the oldest git in the room. Twenty-seven years in the recruitment industry as a junior consultant.

I started as a rookie in my first recruitment role as a consultant. I progressed from that junior, that rookie, to a consultant, a senior consultant, a manager, a business owner, a mentor and a coach. All of those roles I fulfilled in our industry, 27 years of doing it and still, to this day, I know it’s challenging for us. There are days that go by that you do question your sanity a little bit in this industry.

I’ve got to say to you, 27 years in, I’m still loving it. I’m loving the vibrancy and the energy and everything else that we get from this.

Did you know?

Not many of you will know that I’ve grown three very successful, very highly profitable recruitment businesses of my own, recruitment companies of my own, as well as mentored and coached hundreds of business owners world-wide to launch and grow their own recruitment businesses.

I’ve trained over thirty-seven and a half thousand, that’s correct, thirty-seven and a half thousand recruiters world-wide through my live training events, through my video products, through my online training and now through my books. I’m a number one Amazon best seller thanks to you.

My generous mentors

I was extremely fortunate, blessed in fact, to have had and worked with 3 of the most influential, successful and generous mentors in the recruitment industry during my early career.

James Caan

Firstly, most of you will know James Caan of BBC’s Dragon’s Den fame.  James had a verysuccessful recruitment organization, grew it, sold it, and now is the chairman of a private equity company. I set up and ran my first recruiting business with James. I will tell you that was a disaster, not because of him but because of me.

Tony Byrne

Secondly, another one of my generous mentors was the late, great Tony Byrne. If you’ve never experienced Tony, you’ve missed out on something. If you can grab any of his DVDs or video products or whatever, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!  In my mind, probably the best, recruitment trainer, that ever lived. I was blessed to have done my apprenticeship with Tony, so one of my earliest mentors.

Ann Swain

Finally, my third mentor – Ann Swain. For you guys that are based in the UK,  you’ll know Ann. Very familiar in our recruitment industry, a prominent speaker and has been around the recruitment industry longer than I have in fact. She was one of my earliest mentors.

She’s now the chairwoman of APSCO, the Association of Professional Staffing Companies.

My first business

I was really blessed to have those mentors but let me tell you about that situation with my first business with James. I was a recruiter, just like you. If you’re a recruiter now or if you’re a business owner now, (if you’re a business owner now you were probably a recruiter at one point!). Like me, you were probably pretty good at it, pretty decent at it. We knew how to make money. We all go through that thing of, “Well I’m doing this for somebody else. I’m pretty good at what I do. I know, I’ll start a recruitment business.”

We presume, I certainly did, that just because I was a good recruiter, I was going to be a great business owner or recruitment business owner. Wrong. It just doesn’t work like that. I was a recruiter. I knew how to make placements. I could smell money and I could chase money. I knew what to work on, what candidates to speak to, how to qualify. Running a recruitment business, I don’t need to tell you business owners, is a completely different ballgame.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Even though I had the support of people like James and Tony and even Ann, it’s like, I just didn’t know. What I did, one of the earliest lessons I got from these mentors was, don’t reinvent the wheel. Find people that are doing this and study. I’ve made myself a student of our industry. Essentially what I did was I found out how the most successful recruitment businesses ran, how they operated, and I modelled it.

I came back to that business with James and together, with our third partner as well a guy called Tony Cox, we absolutely smashed it. We got some phenomenal results, not only in how I recruited, but more importantly in terms of growing a recruitment business by attracting great people to come and work with me and to stay working with me. That was one of the challenges. In my first company, in that first business with James, I recruited six star billers in my first nine months.

A phenomenal business

In that industry, the fees were traditionally very, very low but we carved it out, and I took my specialization from an industry average of 12.5- 15% contingency, to 30% retained fees 100% of the time! That business that I grew with James and with Tony was phenomenal.

I’ve got to say to you, it’s not the only one. The last business that I was involved in, I went to work for the UK’s second largest recruitment business, a £350 million turnover PLC. I set up and ran their executive search division for them. There, I had 25 consistent revenue generators that I hand-picked, trained, developed and managed from scratch, so this system works.

I never got it wrong?

Now I’d love to say that my selection system was fool proof and that I never got it wrong. I did, but I learned from my mistakes and I continue to learn. People will tell you, I’m really humble. I never ever think I’ve cracked it because I haven’t. The moment you think that, something else will come along and bite you on the backside. I never assume that I knew everything and always, despite whatever systems I have, and every procedure I put in, there will always be the anomaly.

Two recruitment industry myths

Two myths that I hear, two things that I hear from every single business owner in recruitment, can you guess what those are? The number one myth, “We should be able to easily recruit for ourselves.” The number two, “You never really know how good someone is until they start working for you.”

Now even though I know they’re myths, they’re actually truisms aren’t they? Isn’t it an irony that we can recruit absolutely superbly well for our clients and get paid for it but when it comes to recruiting for ourselves, we struggle more often than we get it right.

I just think it’s bizarre. I don’t know about you but I’ve pulled off some amazing placements for my clients.  I’ve placed candidates that other people probably wouldn’t touch. It wasn’t that I was a massive hero but I was good at what I did.

Big mistakes

But boy, I’ve also made some real howlers! In 27 years of working in recruitment, you can imagine I’ve interviewed and employed a massive number of recruiters across lots of different specializations in lots of different countries and I’ve learned some stuff.

Unfortunately, I’ve made some big mistakes and it’s those that I’m going to share with you.

Basically I’ve changed the names of some of these guys just to protect their identity and also I know that some of them actually still work in our industry. I don’t want to upset them and I don’t want to upset you if you’ve got any of them working for you!

Mistake #1 Pete the Pro

Let me tell you about Pete the Pro, Pete the Professional. One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was being fooled by this guy. Pete was absolutely fantastic on paper. He was even better at interview. He’d worked in recruitment for about 10 years and for some massive recruiting companies.

His figures, his stats were impressive and he swaggered through my selection process telling me that he was going to smash targets. He used to say to me, “I’m going to shake up the other recruiters working with you guys.” I’ll be honest. I was flattered. My first response, I was absolutely flattered that this guy had chosen our little firm, given the brilliant experience that he had. I was looking forward to having a consistent biller on the team.

How wrong was I? How wrong did I get that? Pete was a total nightmare from day one. During his induction week, he proceeded to tell me how rubbish our data base was compared to the one he used in his last company, how terrible the other consultants were, why our adverts don’t work or didn’t work. He blamed everyone else but himself, everyone else for his poor activity but himself.

Pete had more candidate drop outs and we had to issue more rebates in his first sixmonths than our entire company had in the 3 years prior to him joining us.

My biggest mistake was letting Pete stay there for 8 months. I’m really embarrassed to say that. I’d like to think of myself as a good manager, a good owner, but we can still be good and still make mistakes.

First, I’ve got to admit, I didn’t stand up to him and that’s because I was scared. I was scared not of him but of losing his potential revenue. It was potentially always going to be good but realistically, and in fact, we didn’t get any.

Eventually I had it out with Pete and, to his credit, I found out he did respond to authority. I just should have got hold of it earlier. He left shortly afterwards but I still see him popping up at different recruitment companies and different events and conferences that I go to.

Why am I telling you about Pete the Pro? What I learned and what I want you to take away, is never, ever let it slide like I did. Never, ever let it slide. Nip it in the bud. Take action. That niggly feeling that I had within, in fact I had it before I took him on, but within days of him coming on, the induction period, him telling and moaning, him talking about other people, him blaming other people. I knew in my gut that he was wrong but actually I let it slide. I’d like to say to you I’m never going to do that again. Just learn from my mistake.

What did I learn?

Beware the old pro. Don’t be fooled by the potential revenue but concentrate instead onimmediate results. Sometimes it’s easier to train someone brand spanking new from scratch than it is to try and educate somebody that’s got really bad habits.

Mistake #2 Mike the Manager

Mike the Manager – you know the type. He was keen to tell me what a great manager he was. It seemed like he’d swallowed the Platinum Guide to Management. Every single platitude, management quotation, you know the types of things. It just seemed like they were rolling off his tongue. Every sentence he had blue sky this or think outside the box or there’s no I in team or whatever. Some of my best ones I’ve got from Mike the Manager. Basically what he told me was ‘not to worry’.

He told me that he’s going to have my back and he would quickly whip the team into shape. These were all the promises that he made. Mike didn’t last long. My consultants sniffed him out within the first week. He spent so much time drawing beautiful graphs, beautiful pie charts. The guy was a whiz with Excel and PowerPoint etc.

He used to collect stats and ratios and product fantastic looking reports but he forgot the vital ingredients of a profitable recruiting company. The three most vital ingredients, clients, candidates and colleagues.

Mike lost the team’s respect in that first quarter. They sniffed him out in a week but in that first quarter, he always had a reason why he wasn’t going to join them in the new business sessions or in those generation sessions or power hours. He just always had an excuse. “I’m doing this proposal. I’ve got a client meeting.” He was just never there. The other thing is these fancy PowerPoint presentations, they were so good that he used to leave his own activity figures out of them.

I don’t know how we were fooled by that but they used to look so pretty and whiz bang-y that we used to ignore the fact that we couldn’t see his activity. If there was ever any good stuff, he would try and steal the credit from the consultant. For a client meeting, for example, if he had invited himself to attend, he would steal the credit from the consultant that had booked it.

Mike the Manager got a nickname in our business and it wasn’t a very kind one, if I’m being really honest, but it was a very true one. The consultants used to call him Can’t Bill,Won’t Bill.

He was managed out of the business after two consecutive poor quarters. Again, six months, actually a long, long time and it’s one that I’m not very proud of.

What did I learn?

The lesson for all of us in this is managers lead from the front. They lead with activity and they lead with revenue. They walk the walk and they talk the talk.

Do not be fooled if you’re a manager. It’s really, like I said in the very beginning. I’m no different from a lot of us in that I was a good recruiter and then I was made manager and then I was a reasonable manager and I then decided that I wanted to run my own recruitment business. I wasn’t qualified for any of those things. I either had to learn quickly or fail spectacularly and I did both.

Where possible business owners, promote your managers from within but skill them up first. If you’ve got somebody in mind, start working with them on their management and leadership skills etcetera, way ahead of the game.

Don’t promote them when someone’s left, someone’s died or whatever and you just promote somebody and you haven’t give them the tools for the job. That’s unfair. It’s probably how Mike got into the trouble that he did.

Remember that your top consultant won’t necessarily be your best manager. I was explaining to somebody this the other day that what’s interesting, having worked in it for 27 years, I’ll tell you the basic trait of a big biller recruiter is selfishness.

As a recruiter, I was selfish but selfish in the way a goal poacher would be. Somebody that sits around the penalty area and is looking for the tap in. A goal poacher. Goal poachers would sell their grandmother to get that ball over the line. That’s what a good consultant is about, somebody who’s focused, that’s driven. Those are the more positive words obviously to use.

A manager is almost the complete opposite of that. A manager is generous. Generous of their time, generous of their knowledge, just generous.

The mistake I think a lot of new managers or new owners make is that they take their eye off the ball in terms of their own personal revenues. What happens is that their revenues suffer, the consultants that they’re mentoring or training or whatever they never quite reach that gap or bridge that difference in revenue so your whole business goes down. The revenues suffer. Then it’s the boom and bust thing that we are all very, very familiar with. Remember your top consultant won’t necessarily be your best manager. It requires a very different skill set.

Mistake #3 Stephan the Sloth.

Let me tell you about this guy, Stephan. I used to call him the sloth. I took on Stephan as a sales manager. I thought he was absolutely brilliant at interview. We shared a similar interest in sports. He liked football, I liked football. He had a really dry sense of humour. The guy could just crack me up with just his look. He was always very relaxed and very laid back. He was just a decent bloke and I liked him and took him on.

The problem was that he was really lazy. He couldn’t be bothered in any aspect of his life, his work, his personal, he was just lazy. Stephan would rather have sent out a hundred emails than pick up a phone and speak to somebody. Now call me old school, but I can’t get my head around that.

I’m all for technology. I’m not a dinosaur, despite contrary opinion. I embrace technology but not to replace communication but to speed it up, to get more done, to make us more productive, more efficient. Not to replace.

I absolutely wiped the floor with him one day when I caught him negotiating fees with a client via email.  My point to him was, “How can you see what you’re client’s, or my client in that instance, what their reaction is to your offer? You can’t see the whites of their eyes. You can’t hear the intonation in their voice. You’re making offers by email and that client is countering them and all you’re doing is just giving way, giving way, giving way.” I was really, really cross.

My fault was that I let my personal likes influence my decision to recruit. I put a halo around this guy and you guys all know about halo and horns. I put a definite halo around this guy but not for long.

One of my difficulties and again, if you’re an owner that’s got somebody like a Stephan sitting there, the change actually happened when I had my first child because he was a little baby and Stephan was working with me at the time.

I used to come into the office after being with my first son, my first child and I used to look at Stephan and, before my son was born, I just used to tolerate him there. I suppose I was in a good mood because of the baby and everything. When my son was born, I use to come in and I used to see this guy just sitting day-after-day never picking up the phone. I looked at his call stats. I looked at his KPIs. He just wasn’t picking up the phone.

When I had that child, all of a sudden, I made the connection in my head that he was stealing food from my kid’s mouth. It wasn’t true because my son wasn’t eating food then! But that was the connection that I needed to make that this guy was actually robbing me. He wasn’t a dishonest person, he was just a lazy person. Essentially I put Stephan on micro-reporting, daily management and KPI’s. Eventually he agreed he couldn’t do the job and he left.

What did I learn?

My advice to you – don’t take on low energy, passive people in your business. Just don’t touch them. Don’t touch the person that comes in and slouches over the chair. Don’t touch them.

I could see that with Stephan. He was so laid back his neck would have snapped at interview. I shouldn’t have employed him. Don’t just take on someone because you like them, even if they can get you tickets for the team!

Mistake #4 Interpol Ian

Let me introduce you to Interpol Ian. For our American cousins, Interpol I suppose would be the equivalent to your Federal Bureau of Investigation. Interpol is like the European version of the FBI.

Now this isn’t strictly a mistake that I made for myself. I didn’t employ Ian. He was someone that I placed but the story is so bizarre that I really wanted to share it with you.  It wasn’t necessarily my mistake but what did I learn from it is the most important thing.

Let me tell you about this guy. I placed Ian as a general manager for a major fashion retailer at their flagship store in Kensington in London. This was their busiest store, beautiful looking, brand new. This guy was good. My client was delighted with his performance in the six month build up to Christmas, which was their busiest trading period, as you can imagine.

Ian broke all previous turnover and profits stats for similar sized stores within their organisation. They loved him so much that within six months, they were talking about grooming him for a possible director’s role – until I received a call from the Ops director, who I had known for a long time, just after Christmas.

He explained that the Kensington store had turned over more money in the last two weeks than any other store in their hundreds of stores that they had. He had broken the all time takings record for that company.

Now I must admit, I’m getting this call the day after Christmas. I thought I’m in for a bonus. “Oh wow, a client’s just phoned me just after Christmas to tell me how much money they’ve taken in this store because of this guy that I placed there. Woo hoo.” I was spending the money in my head. “Wow, I’m going to take this out to the January sales and spend some money.”

Unfortunately, he told me that the reason for his call was to ask what our guarantee period was and did it cover major fraud. I know all you recruiters, you’ll heave a real sigh of relief that our rebate period wasn’t six months. I think it was twelve weeks and our rebate guarantees certainly didn’t cover major fraud.  I also had the line in our t&c’s that references are the responsibility of the client.

So let me tell you what had happened. Unfortunately it had become apparent that Ian had locked the shop up on Christmas Eve and he’d vanished into the night with over three quarters of a million pounds sterling in cash. I’m just going to say that figure one more time. Three quarters of a million pounds in cash.

Now according to Interpol, he was wanted across Europe for three similar crimes, fraud, and they were very interested in tracing him to answer some pressing questions that they had.

What did I learn?

The lesson I learned, and I follow to this day – even though our terms and conditions normally absolve us of any legal responsibility for taking references on behalf of our clients, I always, always personally check the references with previous employers on everyone I employ to work with me.

I don’t care if you’re joining me as the bookkeeper, the accountant, a recruiter, another trainer, a PA, whatever it is. I will personally call your previous bosses and I will talk to them Director to Director, MD to MD. This is not something I delegate to human resources. This is not someone that I get a secretary or my PA to do. This is something that I want to do myself.

It’s not a reference. I’ll ask them in the phone call, “This guy is coming to work for me. How can I manage him or her to get the best out of them? How did you find managing him or her? Is there anything I should be aware of? How can I get the best out of this person? What are they going to give me?” Anything that’s going to help me, help the person that’s coming to work for me. Never ever delegate it.

I’ve got a few more people that I just want to share with you before we move on.

Mistake #5 Not Quite Right Natalie.

Not Quite Right Natalie’s happen usually when I’ve been desperate to fill a desk. I’ve got an empty space and I’m really desperate to recruit and I take on someone that just doesn’t quite fit the bill.

I think back on every single one where my gut instinct was literally screaming at me. I put it down to hunger and I probably went and got a pie or a sandwich or something. My gut was screaming at me not to take them on but for some reason, I don’t know whether my brain just got a bypass or whatever, I chose to ignore my gut and get them in.

I would recruit these people and I’d adopt them like a project. I’d adopt them like a martyr takes on a mission. I would say things to you like, “I’m sure they’re going to work out in the long run.” I’d be justifying that. I’d be saying that thing right up until the time that we get rid of them. “I’m sure they’re going to work out. I’m sure they’ll be okay. We’ll just give them enough time.” The other one I used to say is, and I’m kicking myself now, “I’ll get them billing even if it kills me.”

How often have you said that? “I’ll get this person billing. I’m good. I’m good at developing people. I’m going to get them going, even if it kills me.” Invariably it does and, at the very least, it saps your energy. With ‘Not Quite Right Natalies’ you put more effort, more time, blood, sweat and tears in dealing with the situation and it never gets right. It’s never going to get right.

What did I learn?

The lesson for all of us – never, ever, ever settle for second best. You worked damned hard to build your recruitment business. Quite frankly, you deserve more. Why would you settle for second best? I don’t know.

You want the best for your kids. You want the best for your family. You want the best for your friends. Why wouldn’t you want the best for your own business, the place that you spend so much time?

The place that you put your soul into, why wouldn’t you want the best for that? Don’t accept second best. If you can’t visualize passing your best client to this person, don’trecruit them.

Mistake #6 Dominique My Way Is Better.

Dominique was a graduate, a very, very intelligent guy. Worked in sales before. Young, articulate, reasonably well presented. I got the feeling that he’s borrowed his suit from his dad or he got it from charity. It was about two, three sizes too big for him but, apart from that, the guy was smart. He was articulate. He was educated etcetera, etcetera.

The writing was on the wall during the first two days of his induction. Within the first two days I know because he failed to achieve any of the small, easily achievable activity targets. So even though it was his induction, I do training or development in the morning. I then set him loose for the day and I give him a really small activity task.

What I teach now, don’t mollycoddle somebody. Bring them in and train them sure, but get them achieving. Set them targets from day one, small achievable targets. Dominique couldn’t even touch the targets that I set him. They were small but he just wasn’t even doing them.

Instead, he came back to me at the end of each day telling me that he’d been really thinking about his role and that he had some amazing ideas on how we could achieve our new business goals in different ways. Different to the tried and tested ways that we’d worked our company very successfully for the last three years.

Dominique was like, “Wow I know how to do this.” I didn’t want to rain on his parade. None of us do, right? We have young people in front of us. they’re enthusiastic. You don’t want to rain on their parades but I had seen it before, people who try to change the system before they understand the system. In my experience, they rarely ever work out.

You’ll get the odd anomaly I’m sure. The odd Richard Branson that will come along and say to you, “Look the way you’re doing it is wrong. Maybe you should do it this way.” That’s cool. If you get them, great!

But you and I know what it takes to be successful in our recruitment business. Beware ofsomeone that comes in and asks you to change that without really understanding it first. I cut him some slack. I didn’t want to rain on his parade. I just said to him, “Look I really like you.” I told him to try it his way for a week and then compare the results that he gets to his targets. I wasn’t going to take those away.

I just said, “I’ll let you do the targets. I don’t care how you do it for one week. Let’s just go with your way.” I said to him, “Look if you overachieve, I’ll eat my hat. Clearly I’ll put my hand up and say I was wrong but if you bomb, you’ve got to promise to do it our way.” He promised. He bombed in spectacular style. The guy went down in flames and instead of doing it our way, he left after just two more weeks.

What did I learn?

The lesson for all of us, look for ingenuity, look for intelligence, look for if qualifications are a prerequisite of your job, definitely look for those things but beware of people who want to change what you do from the start.

I don’t mind people coming in and making revisions to my business. I’ve always believed inconstant, never-ending improvement. It’s a principle that Apple have built a whole philosophy and an industry off, of but I just don’t like people coming in that are brand new that don’t understand the way you do it and then are trying to suggest a different way to you.

Mistake #7 My Mate Johnny.

My final howler, I’ve saved the best until last. My final one, this is one that I warn all of my coaching clients about but I’ve committed this same sin myself. This is one of those cases of do as I say rather than do as I do.

My mate Johnny got fired. He got the sack from the job that he was doing and I wanted to help him out. He was a friend of mine so I took him on. John was a brilliant, brilliant manager. He promised to help me deal with the staff.

He just said to me, “Look I’ll take your headache away.” He did and for a while it was really, really good. Really good. It was nice to have somebody that you know the quality of their work and you trust them and they trust you. We worked really, really well. He earned great money, more money than he had done previously.

He put in place some good systems but for our part, we trained him up fully. I gave himresponsibility. I introduced him to my best clients because he was good. He was quality and it just meant that I could do the things I wanted to do. After a year, and how familiar is this, right? After a year, Johnny came to me and he asked to be given equity in the business, in my business, a business that I’d started by myself.

The risk was 100 percent mine in terms of taking it on. I’d grown it by myself for three years prior. For any of you guys that have had your businesses in excess of three years, you know that first three years is really tough. Talk about a roller coaster.

I explained this to John and I politely refused. Remember he was my friend so I politely refused but I said, I didn’t want to shut the door on him. I said, “I’ll be happy to put in place an equity share incentive scheme based on performance or happy to consider giving away some equity but in exchange for investment.”

I was happy to consider these things and put them in place. John wasn’t happy so Johnny ended up leaving me, starting a rival agency. He did me a favor. He did take my non-performing sales manager with him so that was most welcome. Remember Stephan? He tried to acquire the clients I’d given him, the ones that I had given him to work with. I think he won one of them because he just offered a heavily discounted rate.

All’s fair in love and war. I started a recruitment business by moving away from somebody. Most of us have. No hard feelings but there’s a final lesson for us all in this.

What did I learn?

It’s not about taking people on and not taking people on and trying to protect what you’ve got, it’s about helping friends and family. Helping them by employing them very rarely works out. It’s different.

In my coaching group I’ve got two sets of sisters that set their businesses up together. But where you bring a friend or family into an existing business that you’ve got, just be careful because there are sadly few exceptions where it goes right and it pays off. You’re better off building your own business and then giving those friends and family help in other ways.

If you can support them, perhaps help them to start their own business without you.

(this blog continues in part 2) 

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