Home » Archive » Leeches and bullion

, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

1) Don’t work with bad clients.

2) Don’t work with bad people.

The great temptation for every entrepreneur is to take every dollar you can get and hire any cheap brain you can find.

Seth Godin covers this in his Bootstrapper’s Bible. The tension between the leech and the bullion is unmistakable. And while Seth makes these points – he does advise the bootstrapper to grab every early dollar to be found.

It’d be fun to analyse the trade off between a dollar now and two years with a leech client. The results would be even sharper if we compared a cheap candidate (and all the management required) with a sharp, expensive but capable candidate (low management required).

Included as leech characteristics: cost of rerouting effort, time spent coaching, productivity gradients, and contacts per time unit. The benchmark would bullion clients and candidates.

The analysis would describe a threshold – a no-go-zone. Each client and candidate would have a conceptual circle around them. Of course you’d work hard to keep them within the circle, but once they’re out – you’re done.

Separate the leeches from the bullion often and regularly.

Commentary

It is often the challenge to somehow find a balance..one of the new new things we are doing in hiring our resume coaches is getting them to answer a questionaire (first bar) then chatting with them (2nd bar) then asking for a minimum 6 month commitment (3rd bar) I have been finding the “cost” of developing vrs the “return” gets out of wack when you don’t have any hiring formula in place..that said I personally run the risk of hiring someone because I need the person yesterday…however what you write has a lot of lived truth in it for me..It’s the practise that is the
challenge..

Hiring formula. That’s an interesting way to put things. Here you’ve described the stages of hiring – what do you have in the formula?

Any formula or analysis risks abstraction. And the strains of “in-the-moment” decisions can quickly warp the applicability of any discipline – but I think that’s where strategy comes to play.

You need a strategy, a plan to implement the strategy, and budget to get you there.

With these three things you know you will be hiring. You know you will have more business. You even know approximately when that need will occur. You could be getting ready now instead of waiting till then.

A few calls today to find interested, high-calibre people could put you in a good position to hire next month. This should be included as a discipline of innovation and one that will help preempt a tortured decision when the time comes.

An unsexy way to be sexy.