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Can I Quit My Job To Be My Own Boss?

At some point in their career, the majority of business professionals (young and old, fat and slim, tall and short) think about quitting their job to become an entrepreneur.  Unfortunately, many who do, fail and many who would succeed, don’t ever try.


Here are my thoughts in less than 500 words on the topic:


The Odds Are Stacked Against You More Than You Know


Personally, I don’t rely on statistics when it comes to the number of failed businesses in the U.S. annually because it doesn’t take into account small businesses who never “formally” close meaning that people keep their companies as a tax-shelter or for consulting as a second job instead of announcing that it no longer makes money.


How Do I Quit My Job and Succeed?


1. You have to know what you’re getting into – Marketing is part of many jobs that I have and I am writing this at 4:40 a.m. so that I can be in client meetings today.  As my company has grown, I have had to do this less, but businesses are very, very time-consuming and you have to be willing to work.


2. You have to choose the right business – Don’t think Bill Gates.  Rather think reinventing a business model that exists and has current market demand.  Many entrepreneurs think that they have the next best idea and quit their job only to come to the realization that nobody is interested in their product or service.


"ken sundheim kas"

Ken Sundheim speaks to students at NYU about entrepreneurship in summer 2012.


3. You have to know who to sell to – Formulate a plan as to who is going to buy your product or service and base your marketing, sales pitch, website, etc. on attracting them.  You could have the biggest rifle in the woods, but until you actually know how to attract a deer, you’re not going to be able to shoot anything.


4. Think a lot, but not too much – Don’t think things through for two years, but don’t get pissed at your boss and quit because you’ve been mulling over an idea for 2 days that your cousin liked.  Smart business professionals succeed because they make good choices.  Begin to do so yourself.


In the End


I don’t want to deter anyone from quitting their job to open a business, rather I want to deter people who are not prepared to be an entrepreneur and want to encourage those who are.


For more videos: visit KAS Placement YouTube


Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement, an executive search firm specializing in sales and marketing recruiting.


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10 Considerations Prior to Starting a Business

Business plans can be great, but many don’t consider the sales and marketing aspect of the endeavor along with how realistic the venture in question is.  While nothing is going to be perfect when starting a business, some aspects do need to be thought over as failure to do so can equate to a tremendous amount of time and resources wasted.


With that being said, what are some of the key points that entrepreneurs want to think about?  From both personal experiences and from speaking with aspiring entrepreneurs, I have come up with 10 considerations that each aspiring business owner should consider prior to pulling the trigger on any business.


1. What are you going to sell? The big question here is whether there is an existing market.  I also recommended aspiring entrepreneurs keep it as simple as possible and this means not reinventing the wheel, but rather reinventing what already has an active market base.


2. Who are you going to sell to? When answering this question, the entrepreneur must keep digging.  If you’re going to sell a product or service to companies, don’t stop at the types of companies, rather list the people within those organizations that are going to be making the decisions as to whether or not the organization should purchase your product or service.


3. How are you going to reach these individuals? Once the target is determined, the accessibility of that target(s) needs to be examined along with a game-plan as to how to make these individuals aware of the company’s existence.


Things such as cold-calling, search engine optimization and targeted e-mail campaigns are all viable options.


4. How are you going to market your company? Does the entrepreneur wish to be the cost leader?  Does he or she wish to be more exclusive and expensive?  There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but the entrepreneur should make a decision based upon their gut feeling and the information that they acquired through proper business planning.


"ken sundheim, ken sundheim nyu"


5. How much are you going to charge? When I first started my business, I would under-cut the competition to an extent that the consumer would be irrational not to give me a shot.


However, this was not sustainable for my organization.  The best recommendation I could give regarding is to have a current pricing plan (before an industry reputation is acquired) and a future pricing plan (what the entrepreneur hopes to charge after brand recognition).


Business is a never-ending process of negotiation and the entrepreneur must have a pricing plan for when to bend and when to stand tall.


6. How long is an average sales-cycle? When figuring out expenses, it is important for the entrepreneur to have a rough estimate regarding the time it is going to take to sell his or her product or service from 2 points:


a. From the minute they call their firm operational.


b. From the minute that they contact their target individuals (see #2 and #3).


7. Who are your competitors? There are a few ways that buyers find a product or service.  Let’s take two into account which are word of mouth and through the internet.  For an entrepreneur to really know his or her competitors, they must do research in the shoes of a buyer.


For instance, when Googling particular keyword phrases, what companies consistently come up?  There’s a hint as to how to find the players in just about any industry.


8. How are you going to fund the venture?  The option that I recommend for many aspiring entrepreneurs is to start a business while you’re currently working and transition to full-time once the company is showing signs of yielding revenue.


The option that I often discourage aspiring entrepreneurs from looking into is venture capital funding which can be a huge waste of time not to mention that the entrepreneur is going to become an employee in the rare sense that he or she can sell their business.


9. What do you need to learn? Entrepreneurs, rather than thinking delegation, should be thinking as to what tasks they can achieve themselves and, thus save money by learning how to do those entrepreneurial necessities.


Entrepreneurship is about cutting-costs and being resourceful.  The aspiring business owner should be well aware of what it is going to take for them (without using costly vendors) to ensure their business is operational.


10. What are you going to do for office space? When I started my company, I worked out of an apartment smaller than my office.  It was not ideal, but I saved a lot of money.  Pulling the trigger on an office should be one of the last things on the start-up’s mind.


Instead, focusing on #1 – #9 should yield a better return on investment when compared to paying for commercial real estate that the business owner does not own.


In the End


Remember, the more organized the entrepreneur is, the more successful they are likely to become.  As an entrepreneur myself, I don’t consider under planning something that is conducive to a successful company, but over planning does not work either.

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement a recruitment agency specializing in sales and marketing recruiting throughout the United States and Canada.


The Worst Lies to Tell on Your Resume

Lying on your resume is a very serious career offense, yet many still falsify qualifications both big and small to get in the door. Ironically, the significant problem is not when / if these individuals get caught during the application process, rather the large problem arises when they are well into a job and HR decides to do a second check.


Lying on one’s resume is not reserved for any level of employee nor is it contained within a certain industry(s). The last notable individual to get caught falsifying his CV was Yahoo’s CEO, Scott Thompson who claimed a 2nd bachelor’s degree in computer science from Stonehill College in conjunction with his degree in accounting (verified).


If you are working at a smart company and you don’t tell the truth on your resume, chances are you’re going to get caught.   Sometimes this will be during the interview process other times, it will be after you get the job.  If you are thinking about doing so, please refrain as it could damage your career to a great extent.


My opinion is that you should never risk a career to get a job.


Here are some common lies that sales and marketing job seekers put on their resume only to regret down the road:


1. Quotas – Sales job seekers often fudge about what quotas they hit to make themselves seem more appealing on their resume. However, any efficient sales recruiter, HR representative or hiring manager can dig to the truth via basic math:


Amount of Product or Service Sold x Average Sale = Reality vs. What’s on the Resume


ken sundheim, sales recruiters


2. Dates – Dates are just as easy to lie about as quotas, but they are a lot easier to uncover. While dates may seem like an appealing thing to alter the truth on, many hiring companies take things such as length of time at current or past jobs and check for their accuracy.


3. $$$ – How much money are you making now? This is a question that is often asked prior to a company making an offer. Answering dishonestly has come back to bite many job seekers as the miscalculations are often uncovered which results in the job applicant losing his or her position.


After being the CEO of an executive search firm for some years, I could say that in most instances, a company is going to pay what the job description says regardless of past compensation.  Regardless, I can guarantee that any smart company will rescind any offers if this number is not disclosed in a honest manner.


4. Knowledge – I know x, y and z. I can sell to Bob, Mary and Sally. While lies regarding intangibles such as knowledge are hard to uncover prior to job acceptance (or the majority of them are), most surface very quickly once on the job.


Here’s the difference: #1 – 3 are likely to end up being caught prior to acceptance and will result only in embarrassment, this one is typically caught after the employee starts and results in being terminated from one’s job…not to mention in an embarrassing way.


In the End


When you lie on a resume, you spend the rest of your time at that company looking over your shoulder. Lying is a poor habit to get into and to lose one’s integrity over getting a single job is a big expense to pay.


Remember that no resume is ever perfect and please don’t try to make yours pristine by lying on your resume.


Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement an executive search firm recruiting sales, marketing and media professionals.



10 Factors to Consider Prior to Accepting a Sales or Marketing Job

Running a sales and marketing recruiting firm, I have seen many job seekers make the wrong decisions upon being offered a job.  While this is bound to happen to most of us at some point or other, the job seekers who prove to avoid taking jobs at poor companies will always do best in the long run.


While money is a big factor in whether you should accept a sales or marketing job, I have also compiled 10 factors that should be considered along with monetary compensation prior to accepting a sales or marketing position.


1. How Strong Is Your Prospective Employer in Their Market? While you don’t always want to go with the leader, as a job seeker try to avoid companies that appear in the lower ranks of what they do.


While not many exceptions exist, if you’re given an open reason as to why the company is last in conjunction with a formidable plan as to what is going to be done about it, you may still want to consider working for the firm.


2. Is There Room for Growth?  If you’re not growing in a job, what are you doing there?  Finding out where the position can take you if you’re successful at executing your daily duties for a prolonged period of time should be essential to your decision of whether or not to work for a company.


3. Do You Like the People? If you don’t like the people who are interviewing you, chances are that those feelings are not going to change once you’re an employee.  Rather, they may strengthen.


Ken Sundheim: When I got my own office, all the hard work was deemed worth it and adversity was put in the past when I looked at the space, put my fingers together and like Monti Burns, said “Excellent!”


Positive interpersonal relationships are paramount to your success in any organization.  Do your very best to make an educated decision as to whether you can work with the individuals whom you meet.


4. What is Your Support Like? As a sales representative, working without marketing is very difficult.  At the same time, as a marketing representative, you need effective sales reps to back your products or services.


While everybody would like more support in their current roles via a higher budget, only some are able to make do with what they have.  Simply stated, if you don’t feel that the company cares about their sales or marketing, dig deeper via asking intelligent questions.


5. What is Your Creative Flexibility? As a sales or marketing professional, the more senior you get, the more decision making you should receive.  While Coca-Cola is not going to change their formula just because you say so, you still should have some voice within your organization.

That is, if you work hard enough and deserve a voice.


6. Will You Learn a Lot on the Job? A job that is not intellectually stimulating can have dire consequences, as once your brain gets lazy, your work habits and ability to problem-solve do as well.  Make sure that you will be challenged at any position you enter into or the price you pay will be much higher than any benefits that are derived from a higher compensation package.


7. What Will Future Employers Think of this Job? While you may want to leave a job, that company will always stay on your record.  Think about how highly a potential employer years down the road will think of the organization you are considering.


For instance, if they are in last place (see #1), an employer in that market may be less inclined to think of you when it’s time for them to hire next.


8. Do You Need a Job or Are You Able to Pick One? Simply needing a job is the worst reason to accept a position.  While not everybody has this luxury in a poor economy, those who do should never act upon a decision this important to satisfy a short-term need.


9. Do You Believe in them as a Company? If you don’t believe in your employer and the product(s) and / or service(s) that they are offering, how are you going to sell or market them?


As an employee in sales or marketing, your belief in your employer comes through when selling or marketing a product or service and while you can fake it to some, most prospective clients will see the lack of passion and shy away.


10. Did This Employer do Their Due Diligence?  There is something wrong if an employer makes you an offer after a phone interview.  Just like you should do your research, an employer should be interviewing you more than 1x (minimum).


There is something amiss if they pull the trigger right away and offer you the job.  If an employer fails to do their due diligence on you, just think about what your co-workers are going to be like.


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What Makes the American Entrepreneur?

A Strive to Learn, Learn, Learn – My education from Fordham University was great, but it only accounted for a percentage of my knowledge which attributed to my entrepreneurial success.


Though, the best thing that I learned in college was how to study. Entrepreneurs need to consistently read; they must consistently grow themselves. The internet has allowed for mass amounts of global competition making it harder for the American entrepreneur.


Hunger – Running an executive search firm during the worst recession I should see during my working years, I quickly learned that if there are 30 tigers and only 25 antelope, you must remain competitive and hungry or you don’t eat.


I think that when I stated the KAS Placement recruiting firm, I was reliant on raw talent and hunger which alone, won’t make someone successful, but during a recessionary period or any period, the hungrier entrepreneur will even tend to beat the most intelligent entrepreneurs.


People Savvy – Some of us are born with people skills and that’s great if you are, but if you were anything like me, you need to work at them. Simply knowing that people appreciate being appreciated will give any entrepreneur a push in the right direction.


While you can’t rely on contacts 100%, one could argue that account management (quality of service as well as demand being equal) is nearly 100% people skills.


Still the Land of Opportunity?


While America still may not have the economy of China, it’s just like anything else in life – to the entrepreneur, America is what he or she makes of it. Even though there is less money to go around, things will get better and, for now, the American entrepreneur can still prosper.



"NYU Ken Sundheim"

Ken Sundheim speaks to college graduates of New York University.

Lessons on Leadership for the Young Entrepreneur

In a relatively short period of time, I believe I’ve accomplished a lot as a young entrepreneur, but leadership and employee management came later in my career (later being a relative term) and these are some of the lessons that both my leadership successes and failures have taught me.


– You Must Care to Lead and Not Project – I used to be all about myself. After all, I was the CEO, or so I thought. When younger, I was very difficult for employees to deal with because I could not understand why they did not want to work 19 hour days.


For me the search engines and reciting business theories of Jack Welch came easy, it was looking at my employees at individual people with needs, goals, strengths and weaknesses that gave me the insight to implement.


"ken sundheim, ken sundheim nyu, ken sundheim wasserman"

Pictured to the right, Ken Sundheim speaks to students at NYU ‘s Wasserman Center for Career Development as Entrepreneurship as a Career Choice


– To Lead, You Must Be Great – In the recruiting business, I’d like to think that I’ve worked hard enough to become the best I can be which is competitive and, from what I’ve taken in, employees must believe in your skills and theories to give into the belief that a good company can become great.


One thing I can promise to the young entrepreneur is that if you can’t self improve, you sure as heck can’t mold others.


– Positivity – When young, it was easy to not understand that I was the CEO of a company and not just a kid. I would get down on myself which lead to negativity in the office.


As of late, I’ve come to believe that positivity combined with thinking based on reality is a the way a leader should carry himself or herself.


In the End


Humans are an inexact science, but the more we can master dealing with others, the better we can lead and the better we can lead, the better we can become as young entrepreneurs. Ken Sundheim Google+

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Salary Negotiation Tips That Yield Lucrative Results

Running an executive recruiting firm specializing in staffing marketing, sales and media, there are a few tips I would give to any job seeker looking to negotiate their salary. These tips are from perceptions of the salary negotiation tendencies of some of the latest job seekers whom we’ve worked with.


Analyzing from a third party standpoint has showed me what really works with salary negotiation and what any professional should avoid.


1. Don’t Negotiate Your Salary Too Hard – If it’s only a few thousand dollars, don’t spend forever going back and forth with a potential employer. Eventually, this type of negotiation looks unprofessional, gets old to the employer and can lose the job for the applicant.


2. Understand That the Market is Hard to Predict – Predicting the job market can be a very difficult thing and job seekers who are unaware of what other, competing firms are offering can ask for way too little or way too much – both of which reflect poorly on the job seeker.


Do your research prior to asking for a salary number.


3. Speak in Ranges Rather Than Exact Numbers – To give an exact number to a potential employer is much less advantageous than giving them a range, thus putting the ball in their court.


When you give a number that is exact you also risk looking like an amateur if you’re off and, regardless of level, job seekers are often a miss when it comes to the market and their worth (sometimes more, other times they undersell).


4. Salary Negotiation Does Not Have to Be Contentious – The best negotiators discuss; the worst salary negotiators act unprofessionally and are argumentative.


What It All Boils Down To


When negotiating any salary at any level you must weigh how much you want a particular job vs. how flexible you are willing to be on a particular salary. Easier said than done, but hopefully the above tips should give you a fresh perspective for the next time you find yourself negotiating any salary.

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