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Find Great Business Opportunities - Book-of-the-Month - Author David Alford maintains that “opportunities come everyone’s way,” but few people know what to do when they find one. And in fact, few people actually know how to find the best ones.

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Resource Center > Article
Short-Sighted Small Business Opportunity Candidate Selection Can Kill Your Company’s Future!
1 Feb 11 Posted by: Kathleen C Lanza
in Featured Articles
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Owners of small or home-based business opportunity enterprises, beware the short-sighted sale!  While it might seem financially prudent in the short-term to hire just about anyone who says they’ve got what it takes to replicate your success, you’d be foolish to do so.  “Why?” you ask.  After all, isn’t the object to make as much money as you can at first to ensure you yourself will make it? 

Well, yes and no.  Sure, profitability is important, but NOT making smart hiring decisions from the outset can really hurt your company in the long run.  Here’s why. 

First, whether you’re a home-based or other small business, or even a larger operation, your brand is everything.  Hiring someone who doesn’t represent you well, especially if they’re using your product/service name and/or logo is NOT a smart business decision.  If they look bad, you do too. 

Second, if you at all offer some degree of regional or other territorial exclusivity when it comes to marketing and selling your product/service, it’s just not smart business to tie your company’s potential profitability to anyone other than a sure winner.  After all, if your business opportunity’s independent owners rely on you in any way for inventory, supplies or even just institutional expertise, you’ve got a vested interest in seeing that they do well. 

So, how do you know if someone is the right candidate for your business opportunity?

No matter what kind of business you own, the answer to that question can only be found by undertaking one critical task―you need to make a list.  And it’s not just any list.  It’s one that is totally unique to your business and its particular needs.  If you’re confident enough that you feel qualified to model your business success for others in the form of a home-based, small or other type of business opportunity, then there is no better person on the planet to gauge who will make it and who won’t in your industry.  You know what it takes to make it, and you need to write it down! 

Here’s just a quick overview of some of the key elements your list should take into consideration.  Of course, you will need to think about how you can develop your list even further so that it meets your own needs when it comes to candidate selection criteria.

The Learnable Criteria

Learnable criteria breaks down into two main components:  knowledge and skills.  Knowledge is the fact or condition of knowing something from familiarity gained through experience or association.  Skills describe the learned capacity to carry out certain activities and tasks to achieve measureable and predictable results. 

What knowledge/skill set does your business require?  What can you teach your candidates that they don’t know already?  Are you willing to teach them all of the business, some of it―or is your goal to hire someone who knows what they need to know already and then to let them fly solo?  How you answer just this one question will have a huge impact on your candidate selection.

Think about what skill set is non-negotiable for someone to be successful in your industry.  Small business management skills?  Marketing skills?  Finance skills?  Networking skills?  Does someone need a proven track record in setting goals and priorities, managing their time wisely or managing deadlines?  All of the above? 

The important thing here is to recognize how important it is that you take the time to figure out what knowledge and skills would be most helpful in assuring any one of your business opportunity candidate’s success.  Think carefully about which criteria are flexible or can be partial and which ones are deal breakers. 

Keeping in mind that knowledge and skills can oftentimes be acquired, there’s perhaps an even more reliable predictor of any candidate’s potential to do well or even to fail.  That would be the stuff that can't be taught―the  “unlearnable” criteria.

The “Unlearnable” Criteria

The innate traits that a person possesses―their characteristics, shall we say―are perhaps the most important predictor of whether or not he/she will succeed in business at all, especially if the person wants to be an entrepreneur and a home-based small business owner in particular.  In both instances, experts would agree that a special blend of personality traits is absolutely essential if an individual is going to make it.

Characteristics are the traits you possess naturally and include everything from your personality and overall temperament to your demeanor and physical appearance.  They can’t be taught, and you either have them or you don’t to a large degree.  Now many would argue that certain personality characteristics, such as being organized or detail-oriented, can be taught on some level.  While this is true, the journey from being an innately organized person to acquiring those skills can be a long one.  The real question on evaluating candidates' characteristics like this becomes whether or not you’re willing to make the leap of faith that someone can master what is oftentimes an innate trait in a reasonable timeframe, or whether or not the risk is just too great.   

Other more obviously inherent personality traits such as self-motivated, self-starter and logical thinker are very hard, if not impossible to teach, and can be especially important when it comes to predicting whether or not an individual will do well working from home.  Additionally, any expert list of “unlearnable” predictors for entrepreneurial success surely would include such characteristics as passion, focus and drive.

Logistics are also extremely important when it comes to candidate selection.  This also falls under the “unlearnable” category.  If you have a home-based business opportunity for sale, any candidate you select must have the necessary work environment and business resources in place to be successful.  For instance, does your business opportunity involve a lot of inventory?  If so, does the candidate have the necessary storage space available?  How about the candidate’s proposed office space?  Is it set up properly with the necessary capital resources in place to get the job done―computers, phones, specific software perhaps?  Does your business opportunity require a truck or the use of large tools?  Does your candidate have a plan for storing those tools?  Where will the candidate park the truck so that it is safe?  The parking of commercial vehicles in residential areas is steadily becoming a problem in many areas of the country.  These are all things that you have to think about and so do your candidates.

Last, but certainly not least, does the most suitable candidate for your business opportunity, licensee opportunity, distributorship or small franchise need to have certain physical characteristics in order to do the job?  If your opportunity involves any heavy lifting, it’s not right for just anyone.  And a very large, tall man will not be the best candidate to own a business that requires him to crawl around in tight spaces or up on high ladders. 

This is definitely just a broad overview of what you may want to think about as you put your home-based or other small business opportunity candidate selection criteria together.  The critical message here is that taking some time to really examine and then write down in black and white what you’re looking for when it comes to candidate selection―and then sticking to it―is worth the time and effort.  In fact, it could very well ensure your success in the long run like little else can.

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