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Scott Harris Business Article for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Easy Come, Easy Go
By: Scott Harris

“Easy Come, Easy Go” has been a popular song (recorded by Bobby Sherman and George Straight, among many others) and a 1967 movie starring Elvis Presley. The lyrics are about a lost love, a girl won over too easily and lost the same way. The lyrics show the lesson learned:

Thinking about the chump I’ve been
I have to smile
Didn’t I know easy come, easy go
Now I can start all over again
Hangin’ around takin’ it slow

It’s not often that a pop musical hit or a theatrical excuse for Elvis to sing and gyrate offers a solid business lesson, but in this case, it works. I was reminded of the song while having breakfast with a friend last week. He had been fired the night before, with no notice and as he explained it, no warning. He was understandably angry and confused. He went on to explain that he had been hired four months previous after a single 15-minute interview. It struck me as odd that he was proud of the quick hire, but surprised by the quick firing.

So, today’s lesson is that whether it is in love, job or clients – the adage “East Come, Easy Go” is a good one to keep in mind. In today’s new economy, jobs are not easy to come by, and neither are clients. So there is an understandable excitement when either one comes your way. However, if it comes too quickly and too easily, that is the early warning sign to step back and take another look. Most good, smart, business-savvy companies are being extremely particular about both who they hire and how many candidates they hire. The high unemployment rate has provided most companies and most industries with a terrific pool of qualified candidates to draw from, so they are taking their time and making sure they make the best possible decision.

That runs exactly counter to a firm who, in the course of a single, short interview determine that you are the best possible candidate and, without even doing the simplest of due diligence (checking references), offers you a job. While it can be flattering and seem like the answers to your prayers, it should also be a red flag. Step back and ask yourself, are you absolutely, uniquely qualified for this position and, as such, a Godsend to the company making the hire? Or, are you pretty good at what you do, but others are as well? If the latter, maybe it’s best to walk away.

The same can be said for easily obtained clients. I differentiate this from retail customers. Obviously, if someone wants to buy your product or service, you should be kind enough to sell it to him or her. However, if you are looking at developing a long-term business relationship and it appears to just drop in your lap – for no particularly valid reason that you can think of – you should reconsider. This is especially true if you are in a business that requires an up-front commitment of time to learn the client’s business and industry. Are you willing to risk your ramping-up investment on a client that came to you so easily? Is there any reason to think that they can’t or won’t make the decision to leave just as easily?

I am not suggesting that you turn down a good job, a great client or a possible romantic connection. I am, however, reminding you to be prudent and thoughtful in your decision-making process and honestly assess how the business came to you. Did you earn it? Is there reason to believe the relationship will last long enough to be profitable? Are there red flags waving? If so, don’t ignore them.

In a column that opened with a cliché, allow me to close with another. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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