I wanted to give something back to the business community. I was thinking maybe mentor a young entrepreneur, volunteer on a tech start-up board, or just offer whatever time and resources I have to help a business in need.
Last week I just happened to notice an ad that said something to the effect of:
“We have small companies in need of volunteer board members”.
It was almost exactly the situation I was looking for. I clicked the link and landed on Exec Rank’s website (at first read looks like (Exe Crank) a corporate type, simple, yet limited information website. Overall, it looked just reputable enough to be legitimate but it’s not like I was buying something, on the contrary, I was going to lend my knowledge and experience to a company in need.
Three days later I was on a call with one of Exec’s representatives (I’ll call him “P”). Long story short, Exec Rank charges potential candidates $195 / month to use their “platform”. Once logged in, I would see posts from businesses seeking board members. In addition, you pay a $200 fee for I guess “professional resume writing”. P said they would do all the heavy lifting to “package” me for a board seat at a small to mid-size company.
I was told they receive 10,000 request every year, and it would only take me 8-12 months to land a paid board seat. So for $2,540, Exec Rank would land me a board seat in one year, at an average compensation of $25,000 in pay or equity (my guess is mostly equity).
The call happened somewhat fast so it took a moment for the information to sink in. Before I had even set my phone down I received a calendar invite from P to move forward with the on-boarding process, but obviously I would need to make the $395 payment first.
After reading dozens of angry customer reviews, most calling Exec Rank a flat out scam, I decided this would be my moment to mentor a business.
Here is my response to P…
I’ll be completely honest, I was really confused by a mandatory payment for a situation in which I would advise and grow Start-ups and MSMEs virtually for free. Currently, Exec Rank’s business model creates a situation where most of your candidates are paying money because they are desperate for a job. This expectation leads them to an even harder place financially.
As for the companies acquiring your candidates, Exec’s model places self-indulgent business men and women, who are simply paying for a “board” seat because it sounds important when announced to their business peers. That type of person will be of no use to a company in need of true guidance.
I do not believe Exec Rank is a scam but your business model is not setup to ensure every customer receives equal value, which is the expectation when paying $2,540 in a single year. Exec Rank’s terms of service is written to ensure you always come out ahead. Therefore, I also have to suspect Exec Rank is charging the candidates, the companies, and then taking a cut of any compensation. Whether or not that is happening is irrelevant, just the fact that I already do not trust your company means Exec Rank needs more help than the companies you’re trying to service.
I’m seeking a situation that makes me feel good about giving back to the business community not despise it further. So instead of ignoring your future emails, or writing yet another negative review, I will give my unsolicited advice to the executives at Exec Rank.
- Sell access to the platform for something nominal (like $5/month).
- Take down every misleading or false statement on Exec’s website, or at least stop saying you receive 10,000 requests a year for board members, anyone with half a brain knows that’s not true. Bigger isn’t better, better is better.
- If you continue to charge $195 monthly, don’t accept candidates unless they are undeniably board member material.
- Your 15 days notice to cancel is a class action lawsuit waiting to happen. Exec Rank executives could get hit with wire fraud and actually serve time. Any judge will see right through that police’s intent.
From Exec Rank’s terms of service
- Services like your $200 professionally written profile should be offered but not a requirement.
- Let people volunteer for potential board seats and put their access fee in fund that small or startup businesses can apply for.
- Charge businesses slightly more to access the candidate platform (it’s a tax write-off for them).
- Take a small equity stake in each company and package them into a single fund. Over time about 2% of these companies will successfully complete their exit strategy.
- Charge another placement fee when candidates actually land a paid job. It would also be fair to take a small percent of their compensation package. Set the fee structure in stone and disclose these fees to candidates before they commit to anything. This is a fair and honest structure used by nearly every recruitment agency.
- Package together the best of the best board members you represent and let your sales team, PR team, marketing team, and the trail you’ve left of happy people, all sell your “dream team” to profitable companies in their growth stages who will pay top dollar for six months of the best guidance available.
This is the kind of company that will last, make a difference, and ultimately mean something. It takes bravery to not go after the easy buck, but cowards don’t sleep well at night.If you care about yourself and your future you will take some of these ideas, march into your CEO’s office immediately, and demand he changes the company model immediately. Then, if he makes no effort to do so, quit the company and go live a better life.
If you’ve ever thought of running your own company this is the kind of action you will take time and time again, so it’s time to step up and see what your made of.
Please do not call or text me about Exec Rank until the company has made some changes in how they approach making money in general.Best of luck with everything you do. Don’t be afraid to speak up, call out what is wrong, and be the first person who pushes for change.
Seth Michael Harden
President // CEO
I started the week wanting to help other businesses. Maybe, they will realize the error of their ways and make positive changes.
I really just wanted to slam Exec Rank on another review site, but that doesn’t contribute to a better internet or business community. I’ll check in on J in a few months and see if he had the guts to stand up and make some changes.