Wilson Cole Spotlight
By Rachel Woods
In this interview Ally Cole speaks with Wilson Cole on the secrets behind his success. For a little background on Wilson, he founded Adams, Evens & Ross more than 2 decades ago, and the company has grown into the nation's largest credit and collection company exclusively for the staffing and recruiting industry. Wilson's company has helped over 3000 staffing and recruiting firms collect over 1 billion dollars in past-due debt. In 2015, Adams, Evens & Ross opened its London UK offices to give the company global reach for staffing firms and recruiters worldwide.
AC: How did you get into collections?
WC: I have been in collections for about 30 years. When I first got started, I worked as a VP of sales and we did corporate collections. I have never worked in consumer debt because it is much more emotional and is not as likely to collect. 27 years ago was when I decided to go solely into staffing and recruiting. We realized that staffing and recruiting debt is a lot more likely to collect. This is because it is a third-tier debt. This means they are the last debtors to get paid. You do not have to pay the staffing firm to
stay in business whereas you couldn’t function while not paying for parts to your products.
AC: How many offices do you have?
WC: We are based out of Atlanta. We also have offices in the UK, New York, Manila, and Toronto.
AC: What has changed in the staffing and recruiting industries since you have gotten started?
WC: The biggest thing we have seen a shift in staffing is the way people view staffing. When I first got started, temporary jobs were something you did when you first got started or lost your job. It was a transition period. With the newer generations, they love the flexibility, and temp work offers that to them. With the recruiting industry, I have seen a huge jump in backdoor hires. I think this might have been going on all along, but now we can finally track when people do it. With our BDH software, we have located $20,000,000 just in the last 3 years in backdoor placement fees. Going off of this, recruiters have done an amazing job using the tools they are given like LinkedIn and Monster to better the companies and make more money.
AC: I have a couple of questions that are a little more personal for everyone to get to know you better. They all go over your secrets to success. First, what is your next big move?
WC: Over the years, we have been acquiring companies. On the Back Door Hires side, we have bought a competitor. We have expanded our offerings to our clients because we already have 3,000 which is roughly 25% of the industry. I want to get that up to 50%. We just want to give our clients more offerings and make what we are already doing even better.
AC: Do you have a favorite business book?
WC: I have more than one. I am a lifelong learner. Jay Abraham and Brendon Burchard are some of my favorite speakers. Rich Dad Poor Dad is a book I highly recommend. It is a little more philosophical. The book that really changed my business is The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber. It talks about if you have problems within your company it is most likely systems related not people related. Think about a franchise vs someone starting up a small business. The franchise has a much better chance of making it because they already have good systems in place.
AC: Do you have a favorite trainer or mentor you look up to?
WC: With the magazine, I had the pleasure of meeting Jay Abraham who is one of my idols. He probably has more to do with my success them anyone else. Through meeting Jay Abraham, I got to know Gordon Bizar. He is best known for doing leveraged buyouts.
AC: Lastly, what would you tell your 25-year-old self?
WC: Do not be afraid to fail! On average in the US, a successful business owner does not find his success until his third business. I had businesses in my 20s that did not work out, but I learned from every single one. You have to embrace failure because that is part of the process of growing and learning. Do not ever stop yourself from doing something because you are afraid of failure. Do not get sad over it; get excited! It is just a lesson. You only truly fail if you do not learn from your mistakes.