Sat | Feb 4, 2023

Yaneek Page | Not all services make good business sense

Published:Sunday | September 15, 2019 | 12:00 AM

QUESTION: Yaneek, thanks so much for all you do. I can’t tell you how much you have inspired me to think differently about my life and career. I’m 26 years old and have a degree in human resources management. I have been working in HR for a large company for the past two years, and although I like my job, I don’t want to do this forever. Honestly, it feels like I have been here for 10 years already. That’s how depressing it is. Is this normal? How do I keep myself motivated when I hate my work?

The next thing I want to know is whether you think my business idea is worth pursuing. I have realised in HR that the biggest challenge a job candidate faces is to ace the interview process. My idea is to offer interview training for job applicants. So, basically, I would teach them how to dress for the interview, what questions to expect, how to identify the key decision-maker, how to effectively answer questions, how to exit, when and how to follow up, and so on. There’s so much they need to learn, but it’s not taught in schools or even when you are leaving university. How do you feel about this as a business?

– K. Instagram


BUSINESSWISE: Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m humbled that I have been able to make a positive difference in your life. Hopefully, my responses to the questions you’ve posed will add even more value.

Your first set of questions deal with personal motivation and drive. I’ve done many training programmes for young professionals like yours, and the dissonance you’ve described is, unfortunately, very common.

I suggest you take a step back and do some introspection to determine what exactly is making you unhappy. Is it the actual work you don’t like? Is it the work environment? Is it your boss or supervisor? Is it the terms of your work arrangement such as travel or work hours?

Once you can put your finger on the pain point, it will be more likely that you can identify options and solutions that will specifically address the lack of motivation you’re experiencing.

As an HR professional, you would also be aware of the importance of aligning your interests and strengths with the work that you do. Therefore, it may be helpful for you to do some personality profiles and see which contemporary jobs or careers are best suited for you at this time.

Now let’s delve into your business idea to start an interview prep entity. It is obvious that you have recognised a major problem, however, what is not so clear is whether the business model that supports your solution is viable.

Based on your description of the services and target market, I’m not excited about your business idea. Please do a search for my article titled “Here’s An Example of a Lucrative Business Model” published in The Sunday Gleaner of July 8, 2018, where I outlined and explained the ­fundamentals of a winning business model.

In short, you want high-value services and an attractive target customer segment, profitable and extended customer lifetime value, a moderate regulatory framework and manageable risk, high levels of automation and ease of scale, reasonably high barriers to entry, and high levels of differentiation, to name a few.

One very important factor for the Jamaican market is that your target customers must perceive that your services are highly valuable and be willing and able to pay.

The concerns with interview prep from a business model perspective are many. If your customers are typically young and unemployed, where will they find the money to pay a premium for your service?

Given that many of them would have limited exposure to HR practice, how would they even know that interview skills and strategy can give them an edge? Therefore, do they even see themselves as deficient in this area and in urgent need of remedial support?

How do you create a business relationship with longevity to extend the customer lifetime value, that is, how do you get them to spend more over a longer period given that your service is one-off?

I want you to go back to the drawing board and look again at HR within the global context. In the simplest terms, there is significant money to be made in that discipline, but interviews aren’t it. It is talent acquisition and management, business process outsourcing, and digital workforce training, to name a few.

Yes, I want you to consider your passions, and I also want you to go where the money is, where the demand is greatest, and where the trends are most positive.

Good luck!

Yaneek Page is the programme lead for Market Entry USA, a certified trainer in entrepreneurship, and the creator and executive producer of The Innovators and Let’s Make Peace TV series.