Wanted: someone with plenty of money and an ego bigger than their brain
“I run a small business. Well actually that’s not quite true – I’d liketo run a business but as yet it’s hardly turned a wheel. But I do have a magnificent idea.
“So what I’m looking for is someone with tons of expertise, who’ll come and show me how to make my idea fly. I don’t want to pay this person. In fact I want him or her to give me £50,000 for the pleasure of working with me. In return I’ll give them some shares in my business.”
Sound familiar? Possibly not. But although it may not be worded quite that way normally, this is what many ads for non-exec roles in the private sector are actually saying.
YOU MUST BE COMPLETELY BONKERS, I hear you cry. Why would anyone who’s really talented and experienced, and with a track record of considerable success, give you some of their hard-earned cash, plus the benefit of their time and expertise, in return for some shares whose value hangs on a wing and a prayer? Who could possibly fall for that one?
The answer is: there are (incredibly) some people out there who accept these bizarre roles, or else they wouldn’t continue to be advertised. Several entreaties from overly optimistic business owners cross my desk every week – do I really look that stupid? (Don’t answer that).
So, is the business owner attracting a valuable individual who can genuinely
help them succeed, or are they reeling in some daft idiot who’s easily parted with their money?
I’ve a pretty good idea I know the answer.
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