Find your next opportunity through what we call a "spot opportunities" strategy.
Many of Our Clients Connect Through "Spot Opportunities"
We often refer to this portion of your search as looking for "Spot Opportunities." Your goal is to identify change driven firms, as indicated by their raising capital, planning new facilities, reporting higher sales and profits, making acquisitions and planning for expansion. Our private website makes it relatively easy to identify these firms. You will also be equipped with a quick-response resume and an electronic resume, which will make it easy for you to bring your credentials to their attention.
You know by now that 50 percent of all openings are filled privately, since employers fill their positions through referrals or by hiring someone who simply contacts them by mail or phone at the right time. By hiring in this manner, they avoid recruiter fees and advertising costs. If you can learn where these openings exist, it stands to reason that you can have a major edge.
Events occur every day in thousands of firms that lead managers to search for new people. These events are often reported in local/ national business publications, trade magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and online media. What are the events? They are announcements of high sales, expansion plans, acquisitions, new products and other news that signals opportunity. We refer to these as "spot" or "emerging" opportunities.
Use Ripple-Effect Thinking to Identify Opportunities
When you read about a company that is giving out signals that they may be hiring at an above-average rate, use "ripple-effect thinking."
This is simply taking the time to think about all of the changes that may be occurring in the company —up and down and across many functions. You may also get good leads from information about a firm—and use it to find opportunities with their suppliers, customers, and even their competitors. Consider this example:
You read that a firm is starting a division to sell a new kind of paper—one that is appropriate for packaging where health requirements necessitate certain papers. The obvious implications are that this company could very well need executives in sales. Since it's a new division, they may also have some need for people in production, logistics, and other disciplines as well.
Firms with problems can also be of interest. Reorganizations involve shifts within executive ranks. They usually spell opportunity for those who are at the next level, and then changes ripple down through the firm.
Problems often imply one of two things: executives haven't been performing well, or the company needs to develop new capabilities. If you are seeking a position as an executive, the CEO or a board member will often be the logical person to contact. HR executives will also be aware of the openings in a company. However, the SVP of your major function may be a better alternative.
Keep in mind that many employers undergoing change are actually the smaller and faster growing firms, and they are far less constrained by hiring traditions.
In the case of growth companies, most will be looking for individuals with the best natural ability and the enthusiasm, dedication, and willingness to work at an extraordinary pace. Assuming you have marketable talents, a message which makes clear how you can contribute is likely to stimulate interest. Using this process has been the key to success at all levels. Information is power, and that's what emerging opportunities provide.
Sample Letter for Responding to Spot Opportunities
Dear Mr. Cavanaugh:
Today's New York Times indicated you are looking to acquire firms that are sound in concept, but are struggling and losing money in the current economy. With this in mind it occurred to me that you might have need for a strong turnaround executive.
Although not a "miracle worker," I have 20 years of solid experience in growing small companies and larger industry leaders. I have consistently applied sound strategies to turn around profitability and revitalize sales and product lines.
Most recently, in my position as Vice President Marketing for KLX Software in Seattle, I rebuilt a direct sales force, expanded distribution channels, and developed and launched new products. As a result, I improved market share by 20%, and increased sales by million in the first year.
In a previous position at Decision Dynamics, Inc., I revamped a poorly designed marketing/sales plan to increase sale of existing products and establish a market for a new product line. In the first year I achieved .5 million in new orders alone. My success in stimulating growth and achieving bottom line results stems from putting in place assertive, yet practical action plans.
Confident that I have the experience and personal dynamics to move struggling companies to growth and profitability, I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how my background could meet the needs of companies in which you have an important financial stake.
I look forward to speaking with you soon. My biography is attached.
Sincerely, John Williams (123) 456-7890
How Some of Our Clients Used Spot Opportunities
A financial executive read that a troubled manufacturer was divesting a division to raise cash. He called the new president and explained how he might help. Four weeks later, he became the CFO.
A product manager read that a European firm had bought a local firm. He wrote to express interest. Twelve weeks later, he was VP-Marketing, U.S.A.
A general manager read that a major investment was being made near his home. He contacted the CEO and in one month was offered a senior position.
An administrator of a major university hospital, with 15 years in her field, read about a medical equipment firm. She soon started in an executive position with 20 percent higher income.
A former actor, sponsored for our service by two film celebrities, ran a campaign that produced a half dozen offers for executive positions with major PR firms. All were initiated through spot opportunities.
A sales executive was successful in achieving his objective of running U.S. marketing for a Japanese consumer goods manufacturer. It all came about from an article in a trade magazine.
An educator for more than 20 years joined the staff of a division of General Electric in a senior training capacity. The contact resulted from response to an article about GE that appeared in Fortune magazine.
A former CTO read the report of an analyst at Bear Stearns, an investment banking firm in New York. The report involved a depth of information and favorable endorsement of the directions of a Boston technology company. Our client sent a letter expressing interest in the firm, along with a CEO biography that was attached. His follow up by phone resulted in the analyst giving her the name of the key person to contact, and the right to use the analyst's name after their discussion. One month later she joined the company in a senior position.
A former professional athlete, associated with the Cleveland NFL football franchise, had developed a successful career in business-to-business sales. Using the Ohio newspaper media and taking advantage of national business magazines about firms making news in Ohio, he sent short comments on his "quick-response" resume to hundreds of firms over a 12-week period. More than a dozen situations were pursued and several matured into attractive offers.