Starfish Partners Discovery Program

By invitation only, this consulting program is exclusively designed for organizations exploring the possibility of capital infusion or acquisition. Whether it be capital for growth, an exit strategy, or simply to create liquidity in their firm’s value for themselves and others – timing is everything. Whether that time is now, next year or next decade, your firm must be in or get in a position to be attractive for such possibilities by others. Your firm’s model, management structure, market strategy, revenue distribution, tax/ownership structure, and past/future financials are all part of this assessment.

Starfish Partners is uniquely positioned to advise firms in this endeavor: we understand the market, we understand the need for a variety of structures and approaches, and we know the ones to avoid. Throughout the course of this 5 – 6 week program, you will speak with the senior advisors of Starfish Partners responsible for multiple successful acquisitions in the past year alone. Throughout the Discovery Program, you will be introduced to the areas of support provided for the 170+ recruiting firms that are part of the Sanford Rose Associates Network.

Timing is everything. A direct acquisition or investment by/with Starfish Partners may emerge, or our professional recommendation may be that joining SRA is most fitting to make your firm investible. It is also possible that neither are appropriate; in such an outcome, the value of this program will dwarf the investment.

With collective revenues of a family of companies exceeding $250 million annually, the combined operational, finance, technology, marketing communications, hiring, training, coaching, and consulting divisions now represent the largest and most tenured team serving the third-party recruiting industry.

Individual Consulting Calls

  • Kickoff Consulting Call with Jeff Kaye, CO-CEO KBIC / NLE / SRA and Karen Schmidt, President of Sanford Rose, Managing Partner of KBIC / NLE (75 min): The kickoff call will address the why and the how. Imagine you are presenting your business plan to a group of investors; why would they buy? Diversification of clients and markets served, consistency in revenue and profits, a scalable model and infrastructure are but a few ‘why’s’ when maximizing value creation. With a solid why, the how remains; this exploratory conversation will examine paths varying from access to capital, liquidity, and potential equity possibilities to consider. In short: what needs to happen to get your firm the maximum value. We will share feedback and recommendations on markets / territories, structure / models, rules / career paths, compensation plans, diversification strategies, and more.
  • Consulting Call with Nick Turner, CO-CEO of KBIC / NLE / SRA (60 min): The due diligence process for an acquisition is extensive, and can be even more difficult in our highly fragmented sector of recruiting. Nick Turner and his team completed one of the largest all-stock transactions in the mid-to-upper-management recruiting space ever, and this consultation session will introduce you to a methodical and proven process to maximize your opportunities to add value to the investment transaction. It will also give you a variety of approaches to current and future business valuation.
  • Consulting Call with Darren McDougal, Chief Marketing Officer of KBIC / NLE / SRA (45 min): Darren McDougal is an expert on MarCom within the search industry and will cover the relevant aspects of digital marketing and communications for your firm. His team supports and consults with over 200 brands in the recruitment industry, accelerating their visibility and authority in the market. Darren will also provide results-based recommendations on areas such as the effectiveness of your digital footprint, website effectiveness, search engine marketing, inbound marketing, lead generation, thought leadership content marketing, email marketing, and social media channels.
  • Consulting Call with Dan Charney, President of Direct Recruiters, Inc. (DRI) and Board Member of Starfish Partners (45 min): Under Dan’s leadership, DRI’s revenues have grown tenfold in less than a decade. With 25 specialty practice areas and employing over 80 team members, Dan will provide insights on the systems that created their solid foundation and the leadership required to run a multi-rainmaker model.  
  • Consulting Call with Max McNamara, CEO of Full Spectrum Search Group and Consulting Advisor with Starfish Partners (45 min): As the search industry continues to evolve, one of the fastest-changing components is technology and automation. Max is a thought leader in this space and specializes in scalable sourcing systems and automated outreach strategies and the tools that support those initiatives. In this call, Max will take inventory of your firm’s tech stack and workflows. He will then cover specific recommendations for tools, processes, methodologies and what resources or hires may be needed to implement and expand best practices. For reference, Max sold his firm, Full Spectrum Search Group, to Starfish Partners and grew by over 200% in the first two years.
  • Secondary Consulting Call with Karen Schmidt (60 min): After studying your current search firm model and structure and aligning today’s reality with the future’s possibilities, this call with Karen Schmidt will consult on a step-by-step guide for mapping out future revenue, territories, roles, hires, and the foundation needed to be built methodically over the coming months and years to turn a vision into an action plan.
  • Secondary Consulting Call with Nick Turner (60 min):  Questions and feedback on previously provided subject materials reviewed.  Midlevel discussion on due diligence and quality of earnings work in progress.  More in-depth operational analysis and Q&A.  Address any structural or legal variables that need to be managed as part of the process.  Overview for process moving forward and establish a soft timeline for the remaining process.   Defining a clear end goal and objective based on anticipated outcome.   
  • Wrap-Up Call with Jeff Kaye (45 min): Bringing this series together, this final call with Jeff Kaye will tie together all areas needed to build a foundation for a sustainable and scalable firm. With an awareness of the possible changes in your blueprint, the next step is determining the resources and people you will need to help you implement the plan. The wrap-up will include a mutual decision on the path forward without any attachment to anything other than what is best for you and your firm.

Support from our 45+ Person Team

  • Head Coach – Jon Bartos will not just facilitate the coordination and cadence of the Discovery Program, he will act as a sounding board and advisor as well.
  • Premium Access to Next Level Exchange:
    • Premium level access to 100% of content on Next Level Academy and NLE TV
    • Unlimited participation in all training and educational webinars provided through Next Level and Sanford Rose Associates
    • Enrollment in Facilitated Foundation Training for Recruiters: Five-week course with live webinars and a schedule of videos, quizzes, collaborative questions, role-playing, and script development
  • Proprietary Information – Documents received include extensive compensation plans, fee and employment agreements, as well as numerous forms, programs and procedures related to operations, hiring, training, and performance management.
  • Hiring Support – We can explore commencing a hiring initiative for your organization with two dedicated people to your search – a recruiter and coach. The SP/SRA team provides this resource without any cost beyond the postings themselves (Ex. LinkedIn, Indeed) that begins with a intake kick-off call, job description development and the initial launch of the search to identify candidates specific to your internal hiring needs. *There will be an additional cost for this support should the Discovery program end without a decision to join SRA or be part of Starfish Partners*
  • Marketing Communications – The marcom team can begin working with you to craft the right digital marketing strategy for your firm, including web visibility, inbound marketing, SEO, email newsletter marketing and social media. Should you become part of Starfish Partners or join SRA, the team will review your website effectiveness and if needed bring web design teams familiar with the search industry to build/redesign website at an additional cost.
  • Our SP/SRA Technology Team will be your primary “Go To” for most all of your Help Desk remote support and basic systems maintenance. They can collaborate with you on computer systems setup, networking, off-site data backups, redundancy and mobile device support when the devices you count on to help you in business let you down.
  • Split Network Access – We will make custom introductions to SP/SRA organizations and producers based on a need for trusted split partners for any urgent and critical searches. This can serve to expand your reach, maximize earning potential, enhance your credibility and ensure a strategic advantage in this globally competitive landscape.
  • Full force of our SP/SRA Team – If you have a challenge, need, problem or question just email either your coach or any team member. We will get you an answer or get you connected with those who can. In short, you will have full access to our team while participating in the Discovery and doing your appropriate due diligence.
  • You will be copied on all timely information being sent to all SP/SRA offices. Information will include any operational, and financial memos and suggestions sent out to owners only, proprietary within the family of companies.

Statistics and Track Record

  • Number of existing search firms who joined SRA:
    • 2013-2022: 163


  • Our standard Owners Boot Camp cost is $12,500. The total cost of our Starfish Discovery Program is $7,500 – a lower investment yet significantly more work from our team.