For the majority of those making the step from a top biller to running a one-man band, the attraction of going solo lies in flexibility, increased commission, and becoming your own boss. However, for some entrepreneurs, the goal is to build a scalable business which will quickly establish a foothold in the industry. Your long-term success and business growth will be hugely influenced by your motivations in launching a business and the initial steps you take in the process.
Consider the following statistics: 72% of start-ups never reach a headcount of more than 10 people, and last year only 0.2% of recruitment start-ups grew from a micro business (0-9 heads) into a small business. An even smaller portion will grow into a medium-sized company. Only a handful of today’s start-ups will challenge the industry leaders and 40% won’t even see their fifth birthday. In order to create a business which holds real value, it needs to be scalable; in order to build a business that is scalable, you need to lay down solid foundations which will facilitate growth and create room for individuals within it to succeed.
Start with growth in mind
Running a successful business changes your role; instead of generating income for the company, you’re generating personal wealth. You need to drive, delegate and develop the talent around you – which is hard to do if your time’s spent closing deals on the front line. The real secret to scaling lies in the talent you attract to your company. A significant amount of time needs to be dedicated to talent acquisition, building a brand and L&D. An ongoing talent pipeline that’s not just reactive to a consultant leaving, or a budget being signed off is fundamental for consistent growth. You also need the foresight and understanding to plot long-term decisions to expanding in your market. Short-sighted growth might sacrifice long-term survival for quick gains.
Invest in partnerships
Being the director of a start-up essentially entails becoming an accountant, designer, marketer, developer, strategist and sometimes your own therapist. If you’re serious about growth or simply want to avoid navigating your own tax returns, you need to invest in those with a professionalism or platform in these fields. Look at how programme managers spin multiple plates to move a project to completion. A team of top performers will always make more than any single top biller, and they’re more consistent. Making a decision to partner with a senior team of experts, who have the infrastructure and knowhow to ensure you attract, scale and develop your team to be their very best from day one, will differentiate you from those businesses which never make it past a headcount of ten.
Improve your processes
As a small agency, you have a unique advantage over some of the larger brands in the industry. You can introduce and adopt new technology and processes quickly. There are a wealth of service providers in the market that allow agencies to deliver more, faster and for less. Recruitment is a fast-paced industry which means you need to continuously review processes, data and your team’s performance. The foundations of your business need to be solid and secure, but they also need to be flexible and allow room for development and constant improvement.
The more aggressive the growth, the bigger the rewards and the higher the financial stakes become. But growth is risky and requires a steady cashflow; having an unstable or insufficient cash flow is the greatest threat to your business growth. While owning a business means becoming an expert across many fields, finance is something which should be left to the qualified professionals. Financial security is another key area in which a partnership proves to be of huge value.
A partnership with Recruitment Entrepreneur provides exclusive access to expert advice on growing a recruitment business. We’re here to fast-track relentlessly ambitious recruiters to become the next generation of leaders in the industry. Money alone won’t grow a recruitment business, you need the people, back-office, infrastructure and passion to push ever further and faster than your competition.
Written by Greg Hollis, Regional Managing Director (UK).
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