Lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of Linkedin connection requests from people who all have the same headline…John Doe, Founder or CEO seeking advisory members for roll-ups or acquisitions etc...
I kid you not.
There have been 5-6 of these in the last month with some tiny variations and permutations of the terms.
So, I asked one of them where they got it.
‘What do you mean?’
[David explains that he’s seeing a bunch of people use the same one]
‘I was taught to put that in my headline in order to get advisors who will help me do deals.’
[David asks how much unencumbered equity they have available either in cash, home equity, whole life insurance cash value or un-levered investment accounts]
Common answer, ‘well not really anything but I have a few thousand in crypto.’
These guys believe that they’ll be able to convince strangers from Linkedin to come and spend time on their board of directors and magically figure out ways for them to buy businesses with no money.
An evil thought came over me…
Maybe I should say yes to all of them.
I could inflate my Linkedin profile with a dozen board positions from all over the world!
Now, hopefully, nobody would try and look up or research any of these companies because when I went looking, I only found a few simple WordPress sites.
Most of these roll-up ventures had no website at all.
I remember about 20 years ago when it finally became possible to have a virtual PBX system from the phone company.
For those who don’t remember or know, long ago a big company would have multiple lines coming in from the street and they’d have their own internal phone system.
These cost big bucks and small businesses could not afford them.
Then, the phone companies started offering virtual mailboxes or ghost boxes and directory trees for very small fees, like $20/m.
So, a one-person business could suddenly have a phone system that said, ‘press 1 for sales, press 2 for shipping, etc’ and then set up voicemails on each line with a different friend recording each message.
The illusion of being big was now possible!
When the web was building out, you could also ‘puff up’ your presence with a website!
Nowadays, however, it’s increasingly easy for anyone with a bit of knowledge to sus out the imposters.
I recently sniffed out an online marketing agency and discovered that they had 4 employees in Canada, two in the US and eight in Nigeria.
Looks like a real business!
I discovered all of this on Linkedin because people list their employers and most businesspeople are on there.
Most of these ‘founders’ however are all alone at their office… or bedroom, I guess.
And here’s the unfortunate thing…
There are people who are willing to help you out for free.
They’re usually found from within your personal networks.
Friends of friends, friends of your parents, the long-time co-worker of your neighbour.
In order to access this kind of network of advisors you need to have a different kind of capital… Social Capital.
What does that mean?
It means being a contributor to your community and enriching the lives of people around you, so you’re seen as a good person.
People want to help good people.
You can even parlay a bigger societal contribution into social capital.
It’s why people often want to help out or hire a veteran, for example, because of what that person has given to the whole of society.
But trying to convince people to work for you for free in order to somehow ‘win big’ if a highly unlikely set of circumstances plays out will not necessarily get you the right volunteers.
You’ll get people who are motivated by avarice and who don’t value their time.
Think about that.
Now, about those dozen board memberships?
I don’t have time.
I’m already spending time helping a couple dozen people with their own business purchase and roll up strategies.
They’re the members of my Business Buyer Adventure group coaching program.
You can learn more over at https://www.BusinessBuyerAdventure.com
It’s not free, and you shouldn’t join if you’re broke.
David C Barnett