Starfish Partners Discovery Program

By invitation only, this consulting program is exclusively designed for organizations exploring the possibility of capital infusion, acquisition, or successionary strategies. 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 that build value. Throughout the course of this 6 week program, you will speak with the senior advisors of Starfish Partners responsible for multiple successful acquisitions. Throughout the Discovery Program, you will be introduced to the areas of support provided for the 180+ recruiting firms that are part of the Sanford Rose Associates Network.

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 far outweigh the investment.

With collective revenues of our 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(all calls approximately 90 mins in duration):

  • Kickoff Consulting Call with Jeff Kaye and Karen Schmidt, Board Members – Starfish Partners: 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 provide feedback and recommendations on markets/territories, structure/models, team rules, career paths, compensation plans, diversification strategies and more.
  • Consulting Call with Dan Charney, Board Member: Under Dan’s leadership, DRI’s revenues grew from under $4 million to just over $30 million in a decade. With 25 specialty practice areas and employing almost 100 team members, Dan will provide insights on the systems that created their solid foundation and the leadership required to run a multi-rainmaker model. Dan can also provide insight, factors and considerations in a transaction; his perspective comes from a firm and individual having successfully gone through a merger as well as several subsequent acquisitions.
  • Consulting Call with Greg Doersching, Senior Advisor: The more a firm has a perpetual funnel of both quantity and quality business, the higher the firm’s value. Greg Doersching will share consistent strategies for continuous business development and candidate recruitment, to include methodologies for sequencing tools and deployment of international sourcing capabilities. He will also dig into the people side of your business with an assessment of team members, creating learning tracks for continued education and future career paths, and analyze current programs around hiring, onboarding, new recruiter training and ongoing professional development to maximize success with recruiter identification, attraction, onboarding, and retention.
  • Consulting Call with Darren McDougal, Chief Marketing Officer: Since 2006, Darren McDougal has led a team whose sole expertise is marketing communications for the search industry. Darren will analyze your organization and make recommendations in areas that include web presence, SEO, inbound marketing, lead and content generation, social media, LinkedIn, and more.
  • Consulting Call with Nick Turner, Board Member: The due diligence process for an acquisition is extensive, and can be even more difficult in the 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 business valuation, tax structures, and monetizing strategies.
  • Wrap-Up Call with Jeff Kaye: Bringing this series together, this call with Jeff Kaye will aggregate all areas needed to build on your foundation to scale your firm. This holistic session will provide broader insight of the comprehensive facets of your search business to maximize your effectiveness, efficiency, productivity, and profitability. The team’s collective feedback will be shared with Jeff prior to the call to ensure Jeff can share realistic viability for capital infusion, acquisition, equity programs, or other monetizing strategies.

Starfish Discovery Program Includes:

  • 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.
  • Access to our entire SRA team; whether it’s operational, technology, or people related issues, you will have our 50+ person team to assist in all aspects of your firm.
  • The SRA Owner-Only Intranet which includes all proprietary and confidential material accumulated over decades; 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. You will also receive equity plan documents, relevant transactional documents, and a comprehensive due diligence checklist for search firms.
  • Premium level access to 100% of content on Next Level Exchange (NL Academy and NLE TV) to include all recorded owner-only material and the Facilitated Foundation Training Program, and free participation in any live training and educational webinars provided through Next Level Exchange and Sanford Rose.


  • Total cost of the Starfish Discovery Program is $7,500.

    • Should a transaction be done, the fee will be applied to the transaction.

    • The onboarding fee for Sanford Roseis $7,500; should it be determined that Sanford Rose is the right fit for your firm and we elect for you to join, the fee will be applied and the association fee will be waived.