Rick Meekins is the Managing Partner at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy, an Atlanta, GA based small business consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations.
In our evolving, highly networked, interconnected world, it is easier to connect with people than ever before. Working with peer groups and mastermind groups from all over the world is not unheard of. Many of us have social network contacts that span the globe.
While there are a number of advantages to being highly networked, there are many disadvantages as well, such as id compromise, incredible amounts of spam, less privacy � as a person and as a business and difficulty in verifying information about a product or service, just to name a few
One challenge I have seen, and have heard other businesses talk about is finding an employee, partner or alley that is �exactly what we had in mind.� It seems like finding the right person to provide the right support is the exception to the rule.
Donald Trump once said something to the effect of, �Be slow to hire and quick to fire,� which seems to be the opposite of the mindset that many of us have these days. We tend to hire people when we are in a crunch, and, if we like them, their qualifications are roughly what we are looking for, and they will accept our offer, we hire them, usually over the course of a few weeks without really understanding the person we are getting involved with.
If you are going to invest tons of money into one person, it would be wise to take your time.
- Be in a position where you are always collecting resumes.
- Instead of copying job descriptions from Monster.com, work with your team, peer group or advisor to identify deficits in the organization that need to be met.
- Unless the job specifically requires the understanding of an advanced degree � and be clear about that � don�t throw out a candidate strictly on the basis of their education
- Because a person moves around a lot, don�t assume that they are unstable � they may simply have not found the right fit
- Do the work � check the references
- Interview everyone that seems to be qualified. You may start with phone interviews or a group interview.
- Find a personality study that works for you and use it on your top candidates. Having a team of fairly similar personalities might seem nice, but in most respects, it simply doesn�t work
- Look them up on the internet. While I wouldn�t suggest that Facebook and all of the characters people �befriend� is all-telling, a LinkedIn or Qalias profile might be more revealing.
When identifying a partner or alley for your organization, the �due diligence� is just as important, if not more so. How a person presents him or herself is one thing. However, how they produce the products or services and with what consistency is something else, altogether. Remember � you are in business to make money- first. A few things to keep in mind:
- You need to have a clear understand of what the alley expects, and they need to clearly understand what you expect. This includes things such as timeliness, quality of work, payment, payment terms, arbitration, communication, who on your team they will be working with and responsible to, referrals, role, availability, etc.
- Put it in writing. I cannot emphasize it enough. Not having expectations in writing will leave feelings of mistrust and could ultimately harm what could have been a good partnership
- Keep in mind � someone that does what they do part-time does whatever they do part time. While a lot of people do (and probably should!) start their business this way, you have to make sure that this is right for YOUR business and the number of hours you need fulfilled. If you settle, you and your clients will most likely end up unsatisfied
- Develop some standard of regular communication, outside of the work that they are doing for your you are doing for each other. Keep each other �in the loop� with respect to anything that would be appropriate
- Don�t bring in a partner just because they are cheap. People that agree to come in low for a time that end up staying low won�t stay with you. Those that do stay with you may be worth what you are paying them. Find the right person or company for the job, then pay them what they are worth.
- Don�t betray your partner�s trust. It is the beginning of the end. If you aren�t satisfied with something a partner is doing � or not doing � say it. Don�t simply go behind their back and do something different. Don�t burn the bridge
Finding and keeping a good partner will definitely take some work on your part, but the payoff will immeasurable. Take your time. Enjoy the process. Don�t wait until you are desperate. And treat them well.
At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are a Small Business Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping business leaders and executives organize, plan and develop strategies for their organizations. We are committed to our clients’ success.