I had the pleasure of interviewing Terry Williams, CEO of ORS Partners. ORS Partners is a white-label recruiting firm that seamlessly integrates into a client’s company to find and hire the right talent. Through focusing on people, process, and technology, ORS develops and implements strategies to help businesses solve complex talent issues and enable growth.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started my career with the option to pursue law school or enter into the executive search field. To the dismay of my mother, I went into the workforce as an executive headhunter. I was working with executives of companies like Dupont and Xerox and I was offered a position to join a new partnership between the two titans. This company became DX Imaging. I declined a position of full-time employment, however, they then offered to set me up in my own business and would run the entire recruiting process which included all the internal and external hiring for this new entity. This business model later became a popular business model known as RPO (Recruiting Process Outsourcing). Through this experience, I found enjoyment in building and growing companies.
Can you tell us a story about how you were able to build a business from scratch, scale, and sell it to a bigger firm?
When I begin to build a business, first and foremost, I make sure we’re working on the proper business model. I am biased as any business I start, I prefer that the business has recurring revenue (Subscription or SaaS-based) theme. The second most important factor here is the need to surround yourself with the right talent in the right positions in order to execute the model and scale the business. An excellent example of a company that I started, scaled to 115+ employees and sold to COMSYS/Manpower was TWC Group in 2007.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Though it didn’t seem funny at the time, there was a point early in my career where I wasn’t fully aware that the company losses meant my loss. For example, I would take risks and work for a client assuming they would be able to raise capital or properly fund their business. In some early cases, they did not.
I have definitely learned to minimize risk as much as possible when entering into a new business arrangement with a new client and now understand the meaning of new business.
Can you share with our readers the “6 Things You Need To Know If You Want To Build, Scale and Prepare Your Business For a Lucrative Exit”?
1. Prove out the business model
2. Capitalize/fund the business to profitability.
3. Build the right team. Successful companies need the right people in the right positions whom all have the same goals in mind. It’s more than just having the skills to do the job but rather, knowing your team member has the same vision for the business.
4. Cultivate the culture you want. The culture of a company begins with the foundation and a company’s culture should grow as the company grows to a larger scale.
5. Educate, motivate and provide employees with opportunities to develop and grow.
6.TIMING is crucial when selling a business. For a lucrative exit, it’s often a high-risk, higher reward situation but the success of that is largely dependent on the timing of the sale.
Can you give a few examples of things to avoid when trying to build a business to sell?
When you’re building a business, don’t feel the need to stretch yourself outside your area of expertise. Understand what your specialty is and execute it on the highest level possible. Surround yourself with the skills or expertise that you may lack.
What are some of the differences in approach for building a service-based business versus a product-based business with an intent of selling the business at a lucrative price?
I’ve sold both types of companies and I always lean toward using an investment bank for either in order to help you determine these differences. By utilizing an investment banker, they offer the expertise to both monetize and organize the business in a way that ensures you have your company materials and finances in order before the sale.
How does one go about the process of finding a buyer?
You must first understand what types of buyers you are going to attract. Again, partner with a solid Investment Banker and law firm to ensure a great quality process and ROI.
How can one decide if it is better to build a business in order to exit, or if it is better to stick around for the long term and let the company bring in residual income or go public?
If you own the business yourself, you can operate it forever and stick around for the long-term as long as it provides a good cash stream. There’s no need to consider a sale if the business is bootstrapped and is successful without additional capital. If you have institutional investors, their stake in the company may dictate a timetable to sell the business. Personally, I have a fondness for building, scaling, then selling a company as opposed to continue operating a company for cash distributions.
Can you share a few ways that are used to determine a good selling price for the business?
As I mentioned before, working with an investment banker will give you the opportunity to best monetize the value of your company. With competitive marketing clarity, you’ll be able to understand that value of your business before selling it.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
One area I’m passionate about is pay equality for all genders. The market is taking notice but ultimately, I’d like to see an even playing field so that all employees are earning the compensation level equivalent to their education, experience, and levels of expertise.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
One quote I think of regularly is “make innovation come alive every day” because it’s truly what we do at ORS and how we approach working with our clients. We ingrain ourselves into their company to align with their vision in order to help them properly grow.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can follow ORS Partners on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.