A mistake many business owners often make is to grab executives simply because they had a fancy title at their old jobs. Just because somebody has "CTO" on their coffee mug doesn't mean he or she's a Mensa candidate. "You have to do your homework and do it thoroughly," advises Stever Robbins, an executive coach at VentureCoach.com, an entrepreneurial coaching firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "I've seen managers with big titles who were complete idiots. What happened was their high school buddy who made it big hired them and gave them a big title. But when you look a little closer, you find the owner didn't necessarily give them a great deal of responsibility."
In a tight executive job market, perhaps that's the strongest lesson of all. You can toss money around, you can jack up vacation times and you can even hire a masseuse--but if you pick the first big title you see and don't do your homework, you're going to be spending more time with that masseuse than anyone else on your staff.
Christian & Timbers, http://www.ctnet.com
Creative Assets Inc., http://www.creativeassets.com
The Idea Factory, (800) 867-4673, firstname.lastname@example.org
Incentive Systems, http://www.incentivesystems.com
Ethan Winning, (800) 823-6366, http://www.ewin.com
York Paper, (800) 416-YORK, http://www.yorkpaper.com