Chris Caldwell, Highland Trust Partners, and Aaron Wynn, Hunter Recruitment Advisors (ProfitSense with Bill McDermott, Episode 50)
Chris Caldwell, Partner at Highland Trust Partners, and Aaron Wynn, President of Hunter Recruitment Advisors, were Bill McDermott’s guests on this episode of ProfitSense with Bill McDermott. Chris discussed how he got into financial planning, who they most often work with, the business owner’s level of preparedness for the future, how business planning unfolds, and much more.
Aaron began with a very personal reason he started Hunter Recruitment Advisors and went on to discuss recruitment marketing, working with trades recruiting, why talent leaves a position, and more.
Bill concluded with his thoughts on a question for business owners: “What’s Standing in the Way of Your Business Exit?”
Highland Trust Partners
Highland Trust Partners is a team of experienced financial advisors located in Athens, Georgia, bringing more than 60 years of combined experience in the finance industry to each client engagement. Their independent wealth management practice was established with the goal to help individuals and organizations manage, preserve, and enhance their wealth as they seek to attain and maintain financial independence.
Their client-centered, team approach combines experience and insight from a comprehensive, independent perspective as they develop customized strategies to help address the unique challenges and opportunities you face. Highland’s clients are individuals, families, business owners and corporations seeking experienced guidance and a personalized approach to attaining and maintaining financial independence.
Chris Caldwell CFP®, AIF®, CRC®, AEP®, ChSNC®, MBA, Partner, Financial Planner, Highland Trust Partners
Chris is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, Accredited Investment Fiduciary®, Certified Retirement Counselor® (CRC conferred by InFRE®), Accredited Estate Planner ®, Chartered Special Needs Consultant ®, and a founding partner of Highland Trust Partners. Chris seeks to help families reduce financial stress by organizing their finances and developing strategies aligned with their goals and values.
He helps businesses design retirement plans that are noticed and appreciated by employees with the goal of helping workers retire on time with the assets they require for retirement. Based on experience, Chris knows that financial independence is the number one goal most people have for their lives in retirement. His clients rely on him to help them identify and overcome challenges along the path to retirement, anticipating and seeking to avoid obstacles that could come between them and their goals.
Chris received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. He began his financial services career in 1996 and has experience in trusts, investments, insurance, and banking. Chris has concentrated his efforts over the years on enhancing his financial knowledge to assist clients by earning four accredited professional designations, which combined require more than 30 hours of continuing education each year.
Chris has been an adjunct professor at Piedmont College, teaching several business courses and occasionally lectures to classes at the University of Georgia. He has served as a board member for St. Mary’s Hospital, Highland Hills Retirement Village, Athens Rotary Club, Athens Rotary Foundation, Food Bank of NEGA, Athens-Clarke Library, and Piedmont College. Chris is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Northeast Georgia and the National Association of Financial Planners.
Chris and his wife, Heather, were married in 1999 and have two children, Seth and Natalie. In spare time, Chris enjoys travel, running, hiking, golf, reading, and of course the Georgia Bulldawgs.
Hunter Recruitment Advisors
Hunter Recruitment Advisors (HRA) is a minority-owned, Recruitment Process Outsource (RPO) provider and recruitment marketing expert. They mobilize the right people, skills, and technologies to help organizations improve their business performance.
Hunter provides key staff to employers allowing them to meet diversity goals and to promote equal opportunity in employment.
HRA is committed to creating innovative, flexible solutions for government and commercial clients.
Aaron Wynn, President, Hunter Recruitment Advisors
Aaron Wynn has spent his professional life helping his clients overcome the distress of not being able to grow their businesses. By applying his personal experiences and professional knowledge, he provides the proven tools and techniques needed to identify, attract, and retain the right employees at the right time. This strategic alignment of talent and resources then becomes the catalyst for the organization’s strength and growth trajectory.
Aaron understands you cannot achieve your company’s full potential without bringing in the right people to help manage the processes and operations, while giving you the ability to focus on growth and profitability. Hunter Recruitment Advisors (HRA) began as a one-man shop, and Aaron has successfully grown it into a 25-member talent consultancy firm.
While his focus has always been centered around talent management, his specialty within the field is really Recruitment Marketing. Hunter Recruitment Advisors has helped more than a hundred companies across the United States recognize recruiting is no longer solely an HR function, but it is a Marketing one as well. Each company is unique and carries with it its own culture and values, and similarly, there is not a a single approach to recruitment. HRA creates uniquely designed recruitment marketing plans, identifies recruitment practices, and can recruit as an outsourced resource to maximize a client’s exceptionality and specific needs.
Aaron has been in the Talent Management field for 20+ years. He received his BA in Human Resources from The George Washington University and his MBA from Benedictine University and founded HRA in 2015. He is an avid student of all things related to the workforce and professional development and is recognized as an expert authority within the field.
Aaron is currently the President of Hunter Recruitment Advisors based in Atlanta, GA where he lives with his wife and children.
About ProfitSense and Your Host, Bill McDermott
ProfitSense with Bill McDermott dives into the stories behind some of Atlanta’s successful businesses and business owners and the professionals that advise them. This show helps local business leaders get the word out about the important work they’re doing to serve their market, their community, and their profession. The show is presented by McDermott Financial Solutions. McDermott Financial helps business owners improve cash flow and profitability, find financing, break through barriers to expansion, and financially prepare to exit their business. The show archive can be found at profitsenseradio.com.
Bill McDermott is the Founder and CEO of McDermott Financial Solutions. When business owners want to increase their profitability, they don’t have the expertise to know where to start or what to do. Bill leverages his knowledge and relationships from 32 years as a banker to identify the hurdles getting in the way and create a plan to deliver profitability they never thought possible.
Bill currently serves as Treasurer for the Atlanta Executive Forum and has held previous positions as a board member for the Kennesaw State University Entrepreneurship Center and Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity and Treasurer for CEO NetWeavers. Bill is a graduate of Wake Forest University and he and his wife, Martha have called Atlanta home for over 40 years. Outside of work, Bill enjoys golf, traveling, and gardening.
Intro: [00:00:03] Broadcasting from the Business RadioX Studio in Alpharetta, it’s time for ProfitSense with Bill McDermott.
Bill McDermott: [00:00:17] Good morning. Welcome to ProfitSense. This podcast dives into the stories behind some of Atlanta’s successful businesses and business owners and the professionals that advise them. We help local business leaders get the word out about the important work they’re doing to serve their market, their community, and their profession, as well as discuss current issues that business owners are facing today across a wide variety of industries.
Bill McDermott: [00:00:44] I’m your host, Bill McDermott, and this show is presented by The Profitability Coach. When business owners want to increase their profitability, they often don’t have the expertise to know where to start or what to do. I leverage my knowledge and relationships from 32 years as a banker to identify the hurdles getting in the way and create a plan to deliver profitability they never thought possible.
Bill McDermott: [00:01:07] We have two great guests on the show today. I want to welcome Chris Caldwell with Highland Trust Partners. Chris, welcome.
Chris Caldwell: [00:01:14] Thank you, Bill.
Bill McDermott: [00:01:15] And I also wanted to welcome Aaron Wynn with Hunter Recruitment Advisors. Aaron, welcome to ProfitSense.
Aaron Wynn: [00:01:21] Thank you so much. Excited to be here.
Bill McDermott: [00:01:23] Chris, I’m going to start with you. You and I both have a topic that’s near and dear to our hearts, helping business owners exit their business, and not only exit it and have a plan. But before we jump to that topic, I’d love to know why are you in the profession you are as a financial planner?
Chris Caldwell: [00:01:44] Well, that’s a great question. I get that fairly often. So, I always say, and I think everybody does this when they coach other people, is that you do what you’re passionate for. You do what you love to do. You do what you feel that you can provide value to others. So, financial planning was that for me.
Chris Caldwell: [00:01:59] When people ask me what I do, I tell them that I’m passionate about reducing stresses in the lives of families and business owners, and they want to know what that means with financial planning. So, financial planning is not about finances. That’s my background. That’s what I studied. I’m pretty good with math. I love statistics. I love analytics. I love strategies. That’s part of it. But what I really love to do is to get involved with people’s lives and find out what they are worried about, what they don’t know, and try to find ways that we can structure a plan with a bunch of strategies to make sure that they’re successful in whatever their endeavors are.
Chris Caldwell: [00:02:35] So, I think when we have conversations with people, we can all say this, that we have a look back. If I could go back in time, ten years ago if I knew what I knew today, 20 years ago if I knew what I knew today, I think what we bring to the table as planners in our firm is that we can share all of our experiences with clients to help them not do that later. So, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, they don’t look back on had I known, had I done, had somebody told me that we’d be in a better situation, we’re passing on all the experiences that we’ve worked with other people, sharing their stories of sometimes mistakes they’ve made so others don’t make those mistakes. That’s really what financial planning is, is life planning.
Bill McDermott: [00:03:15] Yeah. And I’ve found just in my experience, while I don’t do financial planning, I do help business owners with an exit, and so the things that I’m thinking about as a business owner in my 60s is I don’t know how to do this. How do I do it? I know you work with different types of businesses in figuring that out, so share with me and our audience what type of businesses do you and Highland Trust Partners work with most often?
Chris Caldwell: [00:03:44] Sure. So, a lot of our businesses look like us. We are an independent financial planning firm. We have a partner. There’s two of us as partners in our practice. We have nine total people as part of our practice. We are in growth mode, so we’re looking to recruit and possibly add. We may get up to 20 as our max. We may hit around 15, it’s probably a good number for our firm going forward. So, we are a business owner, so the businesses that gravitate to us most is one of five partners, maybe they have less than 100 employees, but they live the same issues, the same stress points that we live as owning a business. So, we’re good about talking to them with the things that we do with the business.
Chris Caldwell: [00:04:29] And no matter what industry you’re in, whether you’re in construction or health care or engineering or law, we have different products and services and different things we do as a business, but we have a lot of the same foundation things to run a business. So, the business that gravitate to us are small businesses that look like us because we can share our stories with them as far as the stress points we go through and what we’re working on to make ourselves better.
Bill McDermott: [00:04:53] Yeah. That is great. We’re talking this morning with Chris Caldwell. He’s the founding partner with Highland Trust Partners. Chris is a certified financial planner. Chris seeks to help families reduce financial stress by organizing their finances and developing strategies aligned with their goals and their values.
Bill McDermott: [00:05:12] So, I want to switch to a question that’s very near and dear to my heart, when you first meet a business owner, what surprises you most with how they’ve prepared for their future or the future of their businesses?
Chris Caldwell: [00:05:27] So, it depends a lot on what stage of the business cycle they’re in their business. A lot of it for, say, a young business owner, I don’t want to say this surprises me anymore because I expect a young business owner – not young in age, but young in the business venture – not to know a lot yet. But even things like having an operating agreement in place, we’ve seen business owners who’ve done their own or not done any at all, whether they’re a single shop or two or three person practice or firm.
Chris Caldwell: [00:05:51] We’ve seen where they haven’t organized maybe how, really, they’re running the business. I don’t want to say they’re winging it, but they have a good idea, a good service, a good product, and they’re just doing the best they possibly can to get that to market and sell it. So, they haven’t put a lot of emphasis in how do we take this from A to B and what do we think of personally to protect ourselves. They haven’t done a lot of the organization or the structures. They’re not near an exit yet at all.
Chris Caldwell: [00:06:19] But I tell everybody that opens a door in a business, they need to already start talking about succession planning at some point because it’s going to come about. Don’t wait. Do it now. Let’s go ahead and start the conversation. So, the young business owner or young businesses, we see a lot they haven’t adopted those things quite yet as far as structuring the business.
Chris Caldwell: [00:06:36] So, for the growth businesses, now they’re full board, their sales are up, they’re adding employees, they’re in full growth mode, and they are focused only pretty much on the business at that point, they’re the owner or owners and so they’re putting all their time and energy into the business, what I see most that surprises me there is they’re neglecting the other stakeholders, and a lot of those may be their own family. Not neglecting time per se from family, which is part of it, but it is Are they doing the things to protect their families if something happens to them? And are they protecting their business?
Chris Caldwell: [00:07:09] So, if they’re the owner and they’re basically the reason why the business is in growth mode and doing so well, does the business succeed or continue to succeed if they’re not there, whether it’s time off, a sickness, an injury, a disability, or – God forbid – death. So, are they putting things in place to make sure that the business is taken care of in their absence and the family’s taken care of in their absence?
Bill McDermott: [00:07:32] Yeah. I actually had one experience myself where two partners had a buy-sell agreement, but it never got funded with insurance, and the owner died, and all of a sudden that owner never anticipated having the spouse as a partner. And so, that type of planning is so critical.
Chris Caldwell: [00:07:53] And we see that for those who are in the growth stage as well as the mature stage, those who are ready to exit. And your show has said several times and you’ve mentioned it and we buy into this, is, you got to think like a buyer. So, we have a lot of clients that are in the mature stage of ownership that are getting closer to exit strategy. They aren’t thinking like buyers. They’re not ready. They’re not getting their house ready for the best valuation and best sale they can get out of it.
Bill McDermott: [00:08:16] Yeah. Yeah. And typically it is the largest asset that they have on their personal financial statement based on how they value it. And so, I want to switch a little bit and go in a similar direction, but different type of question. A hundred percent of the businesses are going to pass one way or another. But yet, studies show that probably only 20 percent have any kind of a financial plan that’s in writing, 80 percent don’t. So, what do you discuss to convince a business owner to focus time, energy, and money towards business planning?
Chris Caldwell: [00:08:53] So, that 80 percent – from what I’ve experienced – is business owners not willing to or able to take the time to put the work into it. They feel like the process is going to take much longer than it is. Again, those growth in the middle stages of the business cycle, they’re dedicated to the business primarily, of course they have family, they have social life. So, for them to fear to spend the time to do this is money out of their pocket. Not even dollars. It’s just opportunity cost.
Chris Caldwell: [00:09:21] So, what we do for them, again, we’re business owners, I have limited time in my day. I know that. I convey that to my clients and say, “Look, I understand that you don’t have the ability to pull away from work for three or four or five hours a week to work with somebody on developing all these strategies.” What we’re really good at, besides conveying that time issue, is do the things behind the scenes for them.
Chris Caldwell: [00:09:47] So, I am a network person. I naturally just want to introduce people to people. I got plumbers. I got electricians. I got gardeners. I got people who do work for people and just give them free pro bono referrals all the time. So, for me to build a team for a client, to make sure that they have a CPA, a corporate attorney, and a state attorney, an insurance agent, maybe an investment advisor, somewhere else, all the bankers, but these people, they may have them, but they’re not talking to each other in a lot of cases. They’re working in silos for what they do for that individual.
Chris Caldwell: [00:10:18] My role as a planner is to basically bring this team to the table, not really at a table, but to talk to each other about the different circumstances our client is going through and how can we pull resources together to make this stuff happen for them to fix what’s broken or what’s not being done. So, I can do a lot of the information gathering and discovery for a client to do succession planning and other things, estate planning without engaging the client. All that we need from them is letters of authorizations from these different professionals to work with them to gather information.
Chris Caldwell: [00:10:51] And we come up with a strategy solution, basically get it ready to sign almost in some cases. And they’re not pulling a lot of time away from work to do that. Energy is natural. Once they see we don’t take their time, they’re energized. That’s pretty easy. They’re excited to know they don’t have to do a lot. But we’re going to get to know them personally and ask them personal questions. We’re also going to get to know their families well. So, I think importantly, for planning for a business owners, also knowing what they need in their family, knowing their spouse, knowing what they have to bring home one day, so that energizes them knowing we involve the family with that.
Chris Caldwell: [00:11:27] And then, money, it really never comes down to money. Once they know the time we save them, they know we’re putting the resources together to make sure we reduce the risk in their lives, they know that we’re definitely adding more valuation to the business by doing this, maybe saving on other things, tax strategy, return on investments, and others, they’re going to save money off of it. So, it never comes down to, “Hey, it’s going to cost me money.” They’re worried about costing me time.
Bill McDermott: [00:11:50] Sure. That makes all the sense in the world. We’re talking today with Chris Caldwell with Highland Trust Partners. Highland Trust Partners is a team of experienced financial advisors located in Athens, Georgia, bringing more than 60 years of combined experience in the finance industry to each client engagement.
Bill McDermott: [00:12:09] And, Chris, I want to talk a little bit about I’m a new business owner, I’m coming to you, what are the steps that Highland Trust takes with a new business owner and what do you charge?
Chris Caldwell: [00:12:21] Sure. So, some of that answered in the time. So, when we engage with a new client, we work on 12 month engagements. And that basically means we’re fiduciary obligated to you for this 12 month period, at least, to do everything in your best interest, to work with your other professionals, and that type of thing. So, I’d say within the first month is a lot of discovery. We want to know you as a person and your family, because everybody’s different, so what’s your history, what’s your background, what’s your belief system with money and other things, do you like lawyers, not like lawyers, all those kind of conversations we want to get to.
Chris Caldwell: [00:12:55] And then, get to know their other professionals. I want to make introductions to that list I gave you a second ago, and try to discovery pull all those resources together to begin to build their plan and their strategies from that plan. So, within the first month or two is discovery, getting to know family again. The second, third, or fourth month in combination is actually starting to implement some of those strategies that we put in place.
Chris Caldwell: [00:13:18] With a business owner, particularly multiple partners, because everybody’s involved at this point, it’s not just one partner, it’s everybody, and then it’s their spouses, so it’s a network, we want to make sure that we do it methodically. We don’t go fast. We do it well. So, we’ll do certain strategies with it and finish certain components of it, but finish the plan within a 12 month period. It usually takes some time, two years, which they appreciate because they realize (1) we’re not taking time away and (2) we’re going to do it slow and right.
Chris Caldwell: [00:13:48] But what we want to engage the owner in, essentially, is that we just need to know their direction. What’s your strategic plan with the business? Do you have a business coach? That’s a great one. So, how do we improve your valuation? What do we need to do? What have you done before this failed? Those are the kind of things I have to engage the owner with as far as their time.
Bill McDermott: [00:14:06] Sure, that makes a lot of sense. Chris, this has just been a wealth of information. I’m going to guess we have several business owners that are going to listen in to this, what is the best way for a potential business owner to get in touch with you and Highland Trust Partners?
Chris Caldwell: [00:14:22] So, the best way probably is just go to our website, www.highlandtrustpartners.com, so highlandtrustpartners.com. All of our contact information is on the website so you can easily reach out through the site and get in touch with any of our planners and we can have an introduction call with you.
Bill McDermott: [00:14:40] Well, great wealth of information, good counsel, and thanks again for coming on the show.
Chris Caldwell: [00:14:45] Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Thanks, Bill.
Bill McDermott: [00:14:47] We’re now going to switch to Aaron Wynn with Hunter Recruitment Advisors. Aaron, I want to just kick off with what was the inspiration for how HRA got started?
Aaron Wynn: [00:14:58] I think most stories there’s a personal and then there’s a professional side of it. For me, the personal side of it was that my wife and I had twin sons that were born about three-and-a-half, four months early, and unfortunately we lost one of our sons about 16 days after he was born. He’s living with the Lord now. And our other son is with us. And I was a director of recruiting for a very large convenience chain, and I would leave to go to work and he would be asleep on oxygen at our house, and I’d come home and he’d be asleep on oxygen in my house. And it was the very real reality of having lost a child, realizing time is precious and I needed to make some changes.
Aaron Wynn: [00:15:43] And so, I wanted to work closer to home. And I was a little frustrated with my work. And my wife – who was amazing – said, “You’re never going to be happy until you do this on your own.” My story is probably no different than most business owners who start out. You’re never going to be happy unless you do this on your own. And sure enough, she was right. But I tell people all the time, especially business owners who might be listening to this for the first time, I failed miserably in my first business. I made so many mistakes and I could have let that knock me out of it altogether. But I took that as an opportunity to say, “You know what? Here’s where I’m going to learn.”
Aaron Wynn: [00:16:20] Originally, I did what was called contingency recruiting. And it’s a great business, it’s the majority of the business that happens in our country when it comes to recruiting. But I felt so frustrated because I was providing a different level of service to our clients and it was really dependent on if the candidate stayed for 90 days. If they left on day 89, it voided all of the work that we had done.
Aaron Wynn: [00:16:44] And so, when I started over again, one of the things that I wanted to bring in, or the principles were corporate recruiting. Most businesses are familiar with corporate recruiting. And the big difference is that you’re paid for the work that you do and the consulting that you provide. And so, when I started Hunter Recruitment Advisors, for me it was just a natural thing. I provided guidance, not just a job order or job taking, but really giving you guidance on what I call the three principles of all recruiting, that you work with the hiring manager and you have to explain to them that recruiting foundationally is always built on the principles of skill, money, and time. And how you directly impact one of those impacts the other two, and helping them understand that while you may want Michael Jordan, sometimes it’s great to settle for a Scottie Pippen and train them to do more.
Aaron Wynn: [00:17:39] And so, when Hunter Recruitment Advisers got started, that’s really how it began. It wasn’t a grand idea that I had to grow into a 24 person company. It was really just me sitting in my basement and realizing that there had to be other options out there in the marketplace. Because a lot of small businesses, they can’t afford to pay 20, 30 percent of first year salary for an individual. That impact would be $20,000, $30,000. So, what we provide is an hourly based recruiting solution that allows them to pay as they go.
Bill McDermott: [00:18:14] And I know building on that foundationally, that’s really the difference in your recruiting, isn’t it?
Aaron Wynn: [00:18:22] It is. A lot of times we’ll get asked, “Well, can you do contingency?” And I always try to explain to people that contingency in its nature is a lot like the spelling test that you have to take. Contingency firms will come by and they’ll say, “Hey, let me work on your job. No charge until you find your person,” which is great. And they do the exact same thing with 60 other businesses. So, they get these 60 jobs and then all of a sudden they go, “All right. I’m going to pick the ten that’s going to be the easiest to fill and I’ll maybe pass on some resumes if I find something to these other 50.”
Aaron Wynn: [00:18:56] What happens then is that you, as the owner, get frustrated – and you hear this all the time in the industry – “They didn’t do a great job or they really didn’t focus on us.” When you do RPO, you’re being paid to focus on that position. Actually, all the hours that we tell you that we’re working on that role, we’re working on that role. And so, I go back to the spelling analogy, if you’re given a spelling test and in one word is cat and the other word is onomatopoeia, and you only have to learn one, you’re going to learn cat.
Bill McDermott: [00:19:26] Sure.
Aaron Wynn: [00:19:26] That’s what contingency firms do. They work on the cat projects. Most of the jobs that people are being asked to recruit for are onomatopoeia. And so, you need somebody who’s going to study it, who’s going to focus and who’s actually going to work on your project for you.
Bill McDermott: [00:19:41] We’re talking today with Aaron Wynn, President of Hunter Recruitment Advisors. Aaron spent his professional life helping his clients overcome the distress of not being able to grow their businesses. By applying his personal experiences and professional knowledge, he provides the proven tools and techniques needed to identify, attract, and retain the right employees at the right time.
Bill McDermott: [00:20:05] And so, Aaron, your business model really is intended not only to be much more effective and efficient, but you’re actually working yourself out of a job through what you call recruitment marketing. So, talk about that a little bit.
Aaron Wynn: [00:20:23] That is true. So, for a lot of businesses, they apply principles that they’ve known their entire career. I put a job posting out. Hopefully, we’ll see some resumes come in and then we’ll see what happens. That worked pretty well when you had a unemployment rate that was 5-1/2, 6, 7 percent. There were people available in the market. Well, for the last – what? – five years, we’ve been at less than four full employment and people are really stretched. And in particular industries where we tend to have a lot of expertise, in the construction or in the trades business, it’s even worse.
Aaron Wynn: [00:20:59] And so, what they found is that all of a sudden that well of resumes has dried up. So, what do you do? Well, that’s really when the smart companies, the bigger companies started employing practices of recruitment marketing. Recruitment marketing is sharing your business to the public as to why they would want to come and work for you versus somebody else. And there’s lots of different avenues where that takes place. One, it’s their career page, that’s a basic for every business owner. Two, most people don’t realize Indeed provides a career page for your company that you don’t even know about. The moment you post a job on Indeed, you get an automatic career page.
Bill McDermott: [00:21:39] I didn’t know that.
Aaron Wynn: [00:21:39] And from there people can rate how much they like your business or don’t like your business. And that’s a really big deal because Indeed bought Glassdoor, so they’re funneling people to give ratings on your organization. Well, I’m telling you, most new candidates are going through there and trying to decide who they want to work for. They’re checking out your rating. And so, if you don’t own that, if you’re not marketing through that, that’s a challenge.
Aaron Wynn: [00:22:07] And with the rest of our clients, we try to teach them how they can use these principles of recruitment marketing for themselves. They can use us to be able to employ those principles, but they themselves can learn to do it. And what happens often is that we’ll do the recruiting as well as the recruitment marketing. And once we help them find their person or people, then we’ll work ourselves out of that opportunity and they have the fundamental tools now to be able to recruit for themselves.
Aaron Wynn: [00:22:33] They could always bring us back in if they’d like to, and we have lots of clients that will phase in and phase out and bring us back in when they have the next set of hiring needs. But for a lot of our clients, they’ve reached that stage where they have 35, 40, 50 people, they need to have an ongoing recruitment process. We will actually help them hire their recruiter and train them on how to execute both recruitment marketing and recruitment practices so they can do it for themselves.
Aaron Wynn: [00:22:57] I tease people, it’s either the worst business model or the best one. I’d like to think it’s probably a really good one because we’ve had now 130 companies just in the last four-and-a-half years all based off of referrals, individuals just sharing with other people this practice of recruitment marketing and recruiting.
Bill McDermott: [00:23:15] Yeah. And I would say 130, it’s a great business model, so congratulations on that.
Aaron Wynn: [00:23:22] I appreciate that.
Bill McDermott: [00:23:22] So, talk to me a little bit about the work in trades recruiting, HVAC, plumbing, electrical.
Aaron Wynn: [00:23:29] It’s really funny, we didn’t start out that way. When we began recruiting, our clients included the Weather Channel, we’ve had Edible Arrangements, we’ve worked with insurance companies, investment groups. And then, one day I got a call from a local Atlanta organization. They had an HVAC and they were looking to explore to do others. And they were running T.V. advertisement and they eventually had to stop because they couldn’t take on any more customers. Wouldn’t that be a great problem to have, you can’t take any more customers on, so I’m just going to have to stop advertising?
Aaron Wynn: [00:24:05] And so, they looked at me and said, “Hey, I hear you’re pretty decent at this recruiting thing. Could you look in to see what it is that we need to do?” And I had never done a trades recruiting before, and so I said, “I can do it, but you’ve got to give me two weeks. One week I’m going to spend in your office actually learning the culture of your company. And then, the second week I’m going to go in a truck with your guys and go with them on installations and go with them on repairs, because I want to understand what it takes to do this role and do it well.”
Aaron Wynn: [00:24:37] Now, not a lot of other companies would take that kind of practice. They would just take the job order and then move on. But for us, because we believe in recruitment marketing, we have to know who our target audience is. And so, after that, we developed an avatar who we targeted all of our recruiting. And I’m really proud of the fact that even on our website, the video testimony is given where we were able to double their revenues in about 18 months. They were at 35 employees and today they’re at 135 employees. And it’s been a great partnership.
Aaron Wynn: [00:25:09] And I think it was a real testimony to the fact that, all of a sudden, now we’re becoming experts in the trades. And that’s a real market that’s stressed. This year alone, there’s a-half-a-million person gap of trades positions that exist and the people that are willing to work. Now, there’s lots of reasons. There’s seven million people who are able to work that don’t want to work or – what I call affectionately – the extended childhood, where men and women who used to go to work in their 20s to support their families, now don’t have to really start until their late 20s and early 30s.
Aaron Wynn: [00:25:43] But suffice it to say, there’s still this gap, and so the trades business, which our plumbers, our electricians, our roofers – excuse me – plumbers, electricians, roofers, HVAC, these businesses really need to find not just individuals who can turn a wrench, but real people who can engage with customers. That’s not an easy feat. And so, all of a sudden, this need for finding that and being able to target with recruitment marketing to help them identify not just possible people, but people who have done this work before, became a premium for a lot of different businesses to be able to succeed.
Aaron Wynn: [00:26:21] And when COVID hit, businesses were screaming to get more people because they had all the business that they could handle, but they couldn’t find enough people to do the work. And so, we started to become experts. It was originally 25 percent of our business, then it became 50 percent, now it’s almost 80 percent of our business is just working in the trades.
Bill McDermott: [00:26:40] Wow. And there’s such a need for it out there. We’re talking today with Aaron Wynn with Hunter Recruitment Advisors. HRA is a minority owned recruitment process outsource provider and recruitment marketing expert. They mobilize the right people skills and technologies to help organizations improve their business performance. They provide key staff to employers, allowing them to meet diversity goals and to promote equal opportunity in employment. HRA is committed to creating innovative, flexible solutions for government and commercial clients.
Bill McDermott: [00:27:15] And so, Recruitment Process Outsourcing, RPO, what is it and why do employers need to be looking into this instead of contingency recruitment?
Aaron Wynn: [00:27:25] Sure. And we touched on this a little bit earlier, but the idea is that contingency recruitment is great, especially if you have a segmentation that you have an expertise in and you have a well of people. But most positions don’t start off that way with people who are actively ready to jump ship. And so, what happens is that you have to be the kind of position that’s easy for them to fill, to be able to move on to the next project.
Aaron Wynn: [00:27:51] If you’re in an organization where this position is not easy to fill and you really need somebody to concentrate on that, contingency can be a challenge because there, as we affectionately said earlier, they’re working on the cat jobs, they’re not working on the onomatopoeia. And so, that’s when you need to have a recruiter that’s devoted to you. Most small businesses that exist can’t afford to have a full time recruiter, that’s just cost prohibitive. And they really can’t afford to do 20 or 30 percent of a first year salary, that’s also cost prohibitive.
Aaron Wynn: [00:28:23] But they can afford to have a fractional recruiter, like somebody has a fractional HR person or a fractional CFO, which is becoming more and more common every single day. And so, fractional recruiting allows somebody to be able to have someone to come in who’s an expert in recruiting that not just does recruiting, but does the recruitment management for you. We literally will take on the role of the company through email as well as through phone. We’ll pick up the phone as that organization will describe the company’s culture. We’ll actually give them insights about the position as a candidate, because so often you have to woo a candidate into an opportunity.
Aaron Wynn: [00:29:02] And so, that’s not somebody who’s just looking at your resume and passing you through. These are business professionals. Our team are business professionals who have been corporate recruiters before, and they’re actually engaging with the candidate. Why it’s advantageous for the client is that, one, they’re really getting corporate recruiting, but they’re also getting it on an hourly basis. When we make the hire, the clock stops. And for most of our clients, they don’t realize this in the beginning, they’re paying probably anywhere between 40 to 50 percent of what they normally would have paid a contingency firm for the same level of service and, in fact, more service when you go with an RPO.
Aaron Wynn: [00:29:44] An RPO also establishes the ability to run your recruiting for you so that you can focus on doing your business. How many business owners have just one job? Nobody does. They’ve got four or five. My week this week is I’m the accountant, I’m the sales guy, the marketing guy, oh, and I happen to do some recruiting. Nobody has time for everything. And so, recruiting gets pushed to the bottom.
Aaron Wynn: [00:30:07] Here, they can outsource it all that the only thing they have to do is look at the write up that we did for them so they can see if this is the kind of candidate they want to talk to, provide the time that they would like to do the interviews and then show up. Everything else is handled by their RPO team.
Bill McDermott: [00:30:23] Yeah. Which is great. And the whole concept of fractional work gives the business owner the ability to have on demand recruiting, and so what a great business model. And everybody needs staff right now. I don’t think I have a client that isn’t looking to fill some kind of positions.
Aaron Wynn: [00:30:43] Well, pass those business cards over. I’ll be happy to take that.
Bill McDermott: [00:30:47] Absolutely. For our business owner listeners out there, just to help them, top three reasons people leave their job and what employers should know and do to attract them to their business.
Aaron Wynn: [00:31:01] In the top three, people often think the number one reason has got to be pay. Pay is in the top three, but it’s not number one, but it’s one that should always be considered. And what I try to tell business owners all the time is that you have to constantly make sure that your position and how it’s being paid is up to market. We usually get settled into a, “Hey, this is what it got paid, so that’s what it’s going to stay.” And the problem is they’ll get wooed by somebody else who’s more current. Every single year, for myself, I look at what we’re paying our employees and making sure that it’s at least up to market, if not better.
Aaron Wynn: [00:31:38] The second reason why people are – in fact, going from three to two, the second reason why people leave their positions is the quality of life. Can’t get to Susie’s recital. Can’t get to Timmy’s ballgame. Or their working hours non-stop and they really just want to be able to take a break, have some balance. That becomes more and more important with every generation that comes through is that balance and being able to convey that you can provide that. It doesn’t mean we don’t want people to work hard, but it means that you have to respect that they have a life outside of this business.
Aaron Wynn: [00:32:12] But the number one reason why people leave their jobs is the managers they work for. Over and over again, it’s the people that they work for. Can they respect them? Can they be somebody who listens to them and respects what they have to say? Will they actually contribute to their development as an individual?
Aaron Wynn: [00:32:34] And so, whenever I try to help companies reduce turnover, the first three things I investigate with them is, let’s see how well the pay is. And base it based off of the skills that you’re asking them to do, let’s get an internal survey or quality of life and understand how well that’s actually working. And then, three – and this usually makes people’s head spin when they originally think about it – is what’s the turnover rate per manager? And how well are we actually bonusing towards turnover rates? It’s not to keep people in positions that they shouldn’t be there, but if it’s apparent that one or two of your managers has a really high turnover rate in comparison to everybody else, then there’s an opportunity to help them to become a better manager, for no other reason than to become a better retention tool.
Bill McDermott: [00:33:24] What a great point. Aaron, if someone wants to get in touch with you, if they have some recruiting needs, what’s the best way to get in touch with you or with Hunter Recruitment Advisors?
Aaron Wynn: [00:33:37] There’s lots of different avenues. We have a pretty strong LinkedIn channel that we do a lot of our communication with the public. But they can also give us a call at 413-367-4868. That’s where our Solutions team will be able to take their call and really try to provide a solution that’s going to work best for them. Because it’s not a cookie cutter, every business is different, and so you need a different solution. And, obviously, they can check us out at hunterrecruitment.net where they can provide their information and see video testimonials of clients that have worked with us to get a sense of who we are as a company and to see if it would work well for them.
Bill McDermott: [00:34:15] Well, you’ve got a great business model and a great business, I’m excited about your future. Thanks again for coming on ProfitSense today.
Aaron Wynn: [00:34:22] The pleasure was all mine. Thank you.
Bill McDermott: [00:34:26] I want to take a moment right now and ask my business owner audience the question, What’s standing in the way of your business exit? Recent surveys show that 80 percent of business owners will exit their business in the next ten years, yet only 25 percent have created any sort of plans in writing for a successful outcome.
Bill McDermott: [00:34:48] I’m working with quite a few firms that are considering an exit. One situation includes a majority owner who has several partners and maybe discovering those partners don’t think like business owners and may just prefer to remain employees. Another owner is a very successful business. He’s a baby boomer and is ready to retire, but is having a hard time removing himself from day-to-day operations.
Bill McDermott: [00:35:14] So, what are some things that could be standing in the way of our exit? First, the economy. In a recession, the value of a business may decline making it more difficult to sell. Also, if the economy is weak, it may be more difficult to find a buyer. Industry trends. If the industry is declining, the value of a business in that industry may decline. If the industry is changing, it may be difficult to find a buyer who is willing to take on the challenges of a changing industry. Third thing is taxes. This is one component that’s very complex. In almost every case, selling a business for a gain will trigger either capital gains or ordinary income tax.
Bill McDermott: [00:35:58] So, what can we do as owners? Time the sale of our business carefully, plan carefully, and seek advice from your professional advisors, and know that alternatives such as merging with another company also exists. With careful planning and execution, it is possible to sell a business at a fair price, even in challenging economic or industry conditions.
Bill McDermott: [00:36:26] If you want to keep up with the latest in pro business news, follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram at The Profitability Coach. If you want to listen to past or future ProfitSense episodes, you can find us on profitsenseradio.com. This is ProfitSense with Bill McDermott signing off. Make it a great day.