“You don’t know what you don’t know” is a well-known adage.
“You don’t know who you don’t know” is equally valid in my opinion.
“I never knew who I was living with until I spent a year trapped at home with them.” This is the catch cry of many in our post-Covid society. People are hitting the internet in droves to find their next ex-wife, ex-husband or consciously coupled life partner.
People are swiping left, swiping right and social media is stalking potential mates with an RSI enduring level of dedication; They have learned that you cannot know too much about a person if you are to successfully couple with them in a long-term fashion.
If this level of investigative fervor was used in the business world I would be one very impoverished credit management advisor, not to mention a very bored fraud investigator.
The separation between personal and business life is essential to have a good work-life balance (many of us have learned that the hard way), but just because the arena is different, awareness of warning signs should be no less diligent. The reason this, some may say, strange comparison has come to me is the result of two phone calls I received just last week.
The first call was from a friend seeking advice: she had matched with a chap on a popular dating app, they had begun chatting, the guy seemed like a genuine ‘good bloke’ and he asked her if she would like to meet up.
She had his name and did a full social media stalk on him and could not find anything at all, bar a very locked down Facebook page.
She mentioned that all of his pictures were quite dated and none clearly showed his face. Also, he wanted to meet in a rest area near a forest.
After reviewing the evidence I deduced that her conversation with this person was possibly the prelude to a very unpleasant experience.
The second call was from a client who had completed some earthworks for a major development in the South Island.
The developer had not paid the final progress claim of $115k.
I asked him the usual questions: “Did you submit a payment claim with the correct paperwork? Is there an agreed ‘terms of trade’ and does it have the proper provisions? Did you credit check the developer? How old is the debt and who is the debtor?”
My client had done all of the post engagement steps perfectly but unfortunately he did not do a credit check or simple google search.
I did one while he was on the phone and the first four results were a picture of the developers face with headlines like, “Bad paying developer strikes again,” “Developer sentenced to home detention for fraud,” and “Bankrupt developer found guilty.”
His credit report linked him to three aliases used within the last 12 months and several judgements against his true legal name.
My client will be suing for the remainder through his lawyer, but it doesn’t look good as there a quite a few others in line.
The two scenarios above demonstrate to me that best practice is best practice in all areas of life. My friend avoided a potentially dangerous situation and my client learned a very expensive lesson.
Just a thought
Related: Networking, why wouldn’t you?