Member Bryan O’Connell Speaks: In Hurricane Winds, Remember a Compass

The Challenge:

The case at hand was brought by the CEO of a VC-backed startup. Dogged by the dual priorities of creating revenue and finding more investment dollars for the company, this CEO was relieved to have recently met a fundraiser who promised to bring in big investment dollars in exchange for equity and an executive title down the road.

If you were in this situation, what would you do?

If I were in your shoes, I’d vet this person’s employment application, while simultaneously soliciting and vetting many other applications. Let the best candidate get the job.

You are about to take your first vacation all year. So it’s clear how much pressure you are under at work. In this stressful time, this promising fundraiser offers a light to guide you out of the wilderness of raising capital. Yet, perhaps ask yourself if he is the very best candidate for the job. Should a CEO take the first application to walk in the door for a mission-critical position? This new offer has illuminated the need for a dedicated fundraiser; however, is this applicant the best fit?

In entrepreneurial circles, I often hear the adage, “my biggest problem started as my best idea.” I have been guilty of hiring too quickly, driven by short-term needs, only to end up with a long-term problem. Through our discussions, we’ve learned that this potential fundraiser doesn’t have an optimal set of skills and experience. Would he make a good executive for years to come? Maybe. But, maybe not. Do yourself a favor and take the time to source and vet dozens of strong candidates for this fundraising position. Then choose one who makes the most convincing offer to bring home the bacon. You’ll likely thank yourself later. Good luck.