Sunday, July 15, 2007

Talent acquisition for Micro-Multinational

Yesterday, I started reading a book called "The Art of The Start" by Guy Kawasaki. Mr. Kawasaki is the Managing director of a venture capital firm, Garage Technology Ventures.  The book is a must read for every entrepreneur.   In this book, an entire chapter is dedicated to "The Art of Bootstrapping" for a young company where he presents ideas about getting things done with very little money. One of his advice is to "Forget the 'proven' team".  Look for raw talent instead, simply because the proven and experienced people will be expensive.  He is suggesting to focus on "affordability - that is, inexperienced young people with bushels of raw talent and energy."

This is a great advice and I can relate to it as the young raw talent is playing a very important role in the vibrant growth of  Heaven Fresh - a micro-multinational.  However, we simply cannot discount the value of experience,  especially if it is available at minimal or no up front cost.  For example, there are plenty of retired people who will be willing to help out a young company to keep themselves busy and also to make a few extra bucks. Since most of those retired folks already have some sort of retirement income, they will not demand any big compensation in advance. Their experience and devotion can play a pivotal role in the growth of a young company.   For instance, Mr. Roy Frankel was 79 when he started working with Heaven Fresh 3 years ago when the company was less than a year old. I still remember his words during our 2nd meeting that "you need me but you cannot afford me".  So we established a compensation structure that was based on the sales.  With no up front payment, there was  nothing to lose but every thing to gain. I have no doubt in my mind that what Roy did for Heaven Fresh could not have been achieved by a young gun in a thousand years. All the credit goes to Mr. Frankel that Heaven Fresh air purification products are selling in Shoppers Drug Mart (Pharmacy chain with around 1000 outlets across Canada) www.shoppersdrugmart.ca , Canadian Tire (Largest Canadian retail chain with 450+ mega stores) www.canadiantire.ca, PharmaSave (www.pharmasaveteen.com), Rexall Pharmacies (www.rexall.ca),  The Shopping Channel (www.theshoppingchannel.com) and Nutrition House (www.nutritionhouse.com).   Due to Roy's perseverance we are very close to getting Heaven Fresh products in the Home Depot Canada (www.homedepot.ca).  Besides his undisputed salesmanship, his advice and wisdom in various business matters is priceless for us. 

My own father has also been helping us with the UAE Heaven Fresh office. The inception and the success of the UAE office would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, without his unconditional dedication at zero monetary compensation. My father has been an immense support for me and all my siblings his entire life. It can be argued that even after retirement his commitment to my career is part of being a great father.  However, the fact remains that it would have been impossible for him to play this crucial role in the success of the UAE office if he did not have decades of management experience. In nutshell, if the business can "afford" it, experience will play an extremely valuable role for a cash strapped micro-multinational .

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