When I was in the business of providing training, software and support services to would be recruiting company owners, that was a tough one to get past. Not that I didn’t have a response, and of course it was true:
We’ve made the decision, with our model, to be the “pick and ax” folks and make a small amount of money on a large number of transactions.
Even though it was accurate, typically you felt that it just didn’t satisfy the instigator of the objection. Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach.
That question has always resonated with me. “Why don’t you just start an executive search firm yourself, and chuck all the hassle and headache of training new operators?”
I have been helping people start and grow their own businesses for the past 15 years and recently have figured out (I’m slow) that I am ready to move on.
Oh, the irony in going from wholesale to retail. I built a company training people to start healthcare recruiting businesses and now I’m doing precisely what my company used to train people how to do – starting a healthcare search firm.
What prompted the switch?
A couple things, really. One, I’ve always been attracted to high-level searches. I have worked CFO and CIO positions, but not on an ongoing basis. However, I know more than a few of the studs that fill $300-$500k positions and I have always respected them, envied them and felt like I fit in.
Two, I have been working with people I put in business years ago, who now have vibrant companies doing millions of dollars in annual business. Their daily interactions are with business people as they solve business and career problems. Coming from a recent history of continuously training new operators and being committed to supporting them, no matter what, that is pretty appealing. If they don’t think a recruiter is working out, they can say, “have a nice day,” and move on. I can’t, couldn’t, I should say.
In the past 15 years I have had a variety of high-growth business ventures around the recruiting industry. From investing in pending personal injury claims, generating sales leads with research software, or establishing offices in healthcare recruiting, I have had some unique businesses.
They have all had a “non-franchise” growth model though, recruiting start-up operators that pay for training and deliverables and then become a sort of independent sales force. Problem is, you can’t fire them because they paid good money to get involved. I have lived with the “walk away” my entire career and now I am looking forward to having that option with my recruiters.
I’m not just hanging out my shingle and going solo. I’m starting a “super” search firm with recruiters, sourcers and researchers that I will manage personally, from one location. I have found one specific medical niche, along with a hospital executive niche, that I think will grow like crazy for the next few years. It’s all due to the ACA (Affordable Care Act) that will finally be implemented on January, 1, 2014.
As my friends and family know, I’m an entrepreneur by necessity. I made some bad decisions when I was in my early 20s and got caught with drugs. It put a black mark on my resume that ruled out typical corporate employment. I am definitely a hunter. Every position I have had for more than 20 years was either my own business or a partnership with a company that was familiar with me and my capabilities. Commission sales and business ownership has always been my only path toward significant income.
You can read more on my background at my LinkedIn page but the short of it is that I have had companies that have done millions of dollars in annual revenue, and profit, I have also funded bombs that never got out of the starting gates. Here are some highlights:
- Co-founded the first litigation finance company and took it national with 400 sophisticated investors and a network of attorneys reviewing cases
- Invented a personal injury claim settlement website that let claimants settle their own claim without an attorney
- Built a $2-3 million per year company furnishing training and software to 1000 recruiting firms
- Founded and grew a healthcare recruiting network to 700 members and $9 million per year in annual revenue before litigation killed it
I have put over 2,000 people into their own businesses in the past fifteen years. I have had the good fortune of getting to know a large number of awesome, high-integrity, genuine people and watching them build great businesses. Unfortunately, as with any sales oriented venture, there are other types of people too.
You have self-starters and go-getters, you also have needy folks, negative people, as well as those that are clueless or never satisfied. And yes, some percentage either don’t do the work necessary or don’t have the aptitude for it and fail. Unfortunately, a portion of those that fail will also seek to blame someone, with the easiest target being the company/person that got them into the business. Then you get complaining, whining and worst of all – attorneys.
With all the potential in healthcare search, who needs it?
Not me, not anymore anyway.
I have helped a lot of people build six and seven figure businesses. In the last year I have been working with two of them that have seven figure healthcare recruiting businesses. I have taken somewhat of a shellacking financially in recent years and in the process of building things back up I have been working an active recruiting desk with them.
What that means is that I contact hospitals, physician groups, and medical companies to determine if they have personnel needs they can’t handle on their own. When they do, I contract with them for search services. In other words, I enter into retained or contingency search agreements where they agree to pay me $20,000 to $40,000 if I recruit a candidate for them that they eventually hire.
Once a contract is in place I start canvassing, selling and screening candidates before submitting them to my client. After submitting the candidate, I seek to manage and control the interview process to affect a positive outcome, the hiring of my candidate and payment of my search fee.
Typically, it’s not so much that a company can’t find applicants. They usually can. It’s more a matter that they can’t find the right candidates, with the right experience and skills. Here’s an example:
I have a client (employer) looking for a physician in a particular specialty (that I intentionally will not disclose) to cover three locations and help grow the practice. Two year track to partner with $300,000 annual guarantee for first two years and a friendly partner buy in. They had six applicants, most of them straight out of their fellowship, the others low quality docs. But that’s not what they want. The client wants a stud who has built a practice, managed mid-level providers and can develop new business. That guy/gal has to be recruited away from what they are currently doing. My candidate has a successful practice, wasn’t looking when I called him, but is willing to listen because he would like to be part of something bigger. Finding that person, unearthing them, is the value of a true headhunter. The best candidates are already in positions, but have issues with their compensation, their partners, their location, etc. The only way to find them is with aggressive sales effort.
Over the last year, working exclusively with commission salespeople, healthcare executives, doctors, and others looking for solutions to their business problems, has been incredible. First, search is a fun business for a “hunter.” I dig it and I’m good at it. Even more though, I am working today with decision makers and producers, straight shooters that want more growth, more income, more control, and they view me as a professional conduit to get it. They have a problem, I have the solution. No complaining, no whining. They use me, or they don’t. They want the job, or they don’t.
At the same time, a big shift has occurred in key areas of healthcare that has really gotten my attention. It relates to the Affordable Care Act, which takes effect January 1st, 2014. As you might imagine, the healthcare world is scrambling, placing their bets on what next year will look like and who they will need on their team. I have identified a handful of medical specialties and healthcare executive roles that are seeing tremendous growth pressure right now. These areas will continue to expand over the next two years, while even others will develop.
I can make a pretty good living just doing this on my own. However, I am looking to do more, much more. I am determined to build a multi-million dollar search firm with commission salespeople I manage myself. Problem is, doing it from scratch and slowly, over time, expanding with commission based recruiters will take too long, three to four years by my estimate.
With the right help I can reach the same levels in one year, and that is where you might just come in. If you have read this far, maybe you recognize the growth and change occurring in healthcare. If you also would like to capitalize on that recognition with a nice financial return, but would like “passive,” behind the scenes, involvement, I may have something for you to review.
To learn more, submit my confidentiality agreement and I will send you my business summary and brief you on what I’m doing. If you have questions or want to talk immediately, call me right now at 314-753-0369 (anytime).
I’m excited with this new venture.