The value of human capital

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| The European | 9 July 2021

Ron G Holland has a bull by the horns with his new video-based business matching app, Quollify, which will transform and streamline how we source human capital

As a serial entrepreneur and business mentor, I often hear corporates and entrepreneurs waxing lyrical about the importance of financial capital. I hardly hear, however, them saying the same of human capital: the value that the right person for the job can bring to a business in terms of their skills, knowledge, and experience.

This is a huge mistake as the importance of human capital simply cannot be overestimated. I was fortunate to discover, very early on in my entrepreneurial career, the value of human capital and that it has potentially far more value to businesses than financial capital—which, at its very best, is inert; being just bits of paper, coins, or (increasingly these days) blips on a computer screen. 

Human capital—more valuable than financial capital 

In the beginning, in my early twenties, I had one small motorcycle shop. This was the motorcycle heyday of the early 1970s, at a time when the industry was booming. From the day I opened we were flooded with motorcycle repairs. My problem was getting good mechanics to carry out the work in a diligent manner and keep the growing number of customers satisfied. I had to do something to address the issue and that’s when I had a little epiphany. A good friend, John Clift, worked in a motorcycle shop a few miles away and I went to him with an offer that he couldn’t refuse. The first day he arrived at my shop, he repaired thirteen motorcycles—helping my business quickly get on top of the backlog. It dawned on me that employing the right human capital can make or break you.

The penny didn’t really drop about the true impact of human capital, however, until after I’d come across 19th century industrialist Andrew Carnegie’s formula for forming mastermind groups to harness the unconscious minds of others. By the time of his death at the turn of the 1920s, Carnegie was the richest man in America and owned the United States Steel Corporation—at one time both the largest steel producer and largest corporation in the world. Aspiring to similar business success, I followed his principle. I lined my two mechanics and two salesmen against a brick wall, as though they were going to be shot, and proudly announced that they were going to be my mastermind group. They fell about laughing; this was the funniest thing that they had ever heard. However, when the laughter stopped, they asked, “Well, Ron, what do you want us to do?”. I explained that I didn’t really know, but what I did know was that I wanted to turn my little shop into an empire and, if they helped, they could be part of a profit share.  

It was a decision that changed my fortunes. I quickly came to appreciate that when you harness the unconscious minds of other men, incredible things happen. Soon they were notifying me when motorcycle shops came up for sale. First in Wimbledon, then Wandsworth, then Hampton Court. In total I went out and bought seven motorcycle shops while also, accidentally, picking up two furniture shops and a 40-bedroom hotel in the process, as one does. I became the largest motorcycle dealer in London and, incidentally, John Clift, who really was a brilliant mechanic, went on to win the Top Fuel Championship and build a fierce and hallowed reputation with the drag racing community. 

The corporate world 

Today, the internet and apps have proved a game changer for recruitment. However, I still see time and again corporates using expensive and time-consuming methodologies for recruitment. They may pay £30,000-40,000 upfront to recruit a high-powered executive, with the recruitment agency putting out a profile on LinkedIn or another platform. From the hundreds of responses the agency will then proffer the top three for their client to make the selection. The balance of the agency’s fee is then paid upon the selection and retainment of the executive.

To my mind this is an unwieldly and expensive way of attracting human capital that, without a doubt, is becoming increasingly competitive, and therefore ineffective, as the demand for top-tier talent increases. Whilst the wider corporate world, with its seemingly unlimited recruitment budgets, may be able to afford such expensive and ineffective recruitment tools, the entrepreneurial world certainly cannot. 

The entrepreneurial world 

Entrepreneurs have an ever-changing need for human capital, from the day they start their business until it turns into mature company, some years down the road. They must recruit talented people from the get-go, such as co-founders; coders, website designers, salespeople, business plan writers, techies, accountants, lawyers, internet marketers, non-executives, angel investors, advisors, mentors, and coaches. The list goes on and on and is ever changing—and ever increasing—as the business grows. Their need is very real but, on most occasions, they have little or no money and are bootstrapping their businesses. They simply can’t afford the luxury of an outmoded recruitment system and are seeking a simple, cost-effective solution. Until recently, this simply didn’t exist, but then I discovered a new approach that will, I am certain, prove to be as transformative for human capital acquisition as was the internet before it.

Enter Quollify

How the Quollify business-matching app evolved 

In designing and developing the Quollify app, I wanted to create a simple and free tool to enable both corporates and entrepreneurs to tap into a massive, global pool of human capital. Utilising a novel 30-second video format—in which you simply share who you are, what you are doing, and what you are looking for—Quollify’s sophisticated matching algorithms will kick in and immediately begin the ‘quollification’ process for you. Once it finds videos from skilled professionals that match your profile then you can start to ‘quollify’ each other, asking as many questions as you deem appropriate such as have they got a business plan, pitch deck, C.V., testimonials, and references. It goes without saying that the more data you include in your profile area, the better the matching engine performs.

Some people have described the app as a “TikTok for business” and, in a sense, I can understand that comparison. But Quollify is so much more. It is being designed expressly to solve the age-old problem of human capital investment, and without costing the end-user a penny. Not only will it allow entrepreneurs to find the right people to take their businesses into the stratosphere, it will also help them maximise the potential return from their new teams. One of the many powerful features will be forming master mind groups with peers, just as I did right back at the beginning of my career. There will also be a multitude of short instructional videos on getting the very best out of your human capital.

Even in this pre-launch phase we are attracting global media attention for Quollify and I am frequently asked about my concerns about the competition. My stock reply, and I quote from Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘The Mary Gloster’, is, “They copied all they could copy, but they couldn’t copy my mind and I left them sweating and stealing, a year and a half behind.”.

Ron G Holland is the founder of new business matching app Quollify, which has just launched back-to-back funding rounds for circa £3m, £10m and £100m, alongside seeking strategic alliance partners, potential acquisitions, and contributors to the forthcoming Quollify app magazine, Human Capital. You can go to www.quollify.com and register your interest in the app and – at the same time – grab a free copy of one of Holland’s many classic business guides, ‘Turbo Success – How to Re-Program the Human Biocomputer’. Ron was the first person in the City to raise over £1million for an internet company, in 1994.

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