15th, April, 2021

“Going it” on your own in recruitment.


“Going it” on your own in recruitment.

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks”…..

so says Mark Zuckerberg and he should know of course having built up a successful media platform amongst other initiatives.

But should anyone with ambitions of being their own boss open the doors of their business with the expectations of mirroring such success and attaining the lofty heights of Mr Zuckerberg and his contemporaries without some realistic reflection and anticipation that on the road ahead lie many pitfalls and obstacles just waiting to trip up the unwary, the careless and the unprepared.

A recent survey on LinkedIn that asked how many years’ experience the owners of recruitment companies had before starting on their own revealed that an incredible near-on 30% had 2 years or less! Now, this isn’t about dampening people’s entrepreneurial spirit, far from it, nor is this about saying things can’t be achieved even by the most inexperienced of people however that statistic is incredible when you think of the complexities of becoming and remaining a successful recruiter and that’s before we overlay the challenges of running a business.

In terms of running a small business there is a myriad of information on the internet around success and failure rates. The Office of National Statistics puts the chances of success in year one as encouragingly high with 91% of small businesses surviving year one- good news so far! Incredibly though the fall out rate for the following 4 years drops off alarmingly with just 40% of those small businesses still operating.

So, what’s gone wrong after that initial great start? It seems it’s a combination of things, not just one but there is a common theme it seems which centres on a lack of sufficient working capital or cash flow, poor management( running a recruitment desk successfully is one thing but managing people whilst also managing a business is quite another) , poor business planning (or maybe should that be failing to keep to the original plan?) and spiralling costs whether that be advertising/ marketing or  employee expenditure to name two common areas that quickly run out of control demonstrates how hard it is to keep those plates spinning at all times.

“Once you believe that you are infallible, that success will automatically lead to more success, and that you have “got it made,” reality will be sure to give you a rude wake-up call. Believing your own bullshit is always a perilous activity, but never more fatal than for the owner of a start-up venture.”
― Felix Dennis, How to Get Rich

With small businesses playing such an important role in the UK economy its essential help is at hand to support business owners navigate their way along the road towards their goals, after all there’s nothing to prevent anyone from succeeding and living their dream but it cant just be left to good fortune and serendipity- that only happens in movies and so it’s essential a robust and pragmatic action plan is in place to help guide the business along the way, and who knows, that little bit of good fortune may just land in your lap that makes all the hard work and dedication pay off.

Some helpful tips in creating a successful small business to take away.

  • What does your business stand for? Apple call it “The Why?” Why are you starting this business, how do you intend to be different and what issues for your clients are you trying to solve. What are your values? Create them and live by them; Dare to be different!
  • Great Customer Service- listen to what your market is talking about, pay attention and make sure you answer their concerns, deliver on what you say you will and manage expectations- be the solution!
  • The Importance of reputation- yours and your industry’s- good news travels fast but not as fast as bad news! As in the first point, become “known” for being reliable and effective.
  • Make your marketing efforts count- social media, advertising, seminars and exhibitions, website- what are you trying to say and can you live up to that?
  • Keeping control of costs- hiring people in particular is expensive so make sure any expenditure is calculated against the returns ……and measure them consistently!
  • Attracting and retaining the right employees- this is key- who do you need and why do you need them. Remember they are there to support you and the business in attaining your plan- build a set of values that your business stands for and recruit with those values in mind.
  • Your business plan- create it, review it and update it- moreover is there someone you can bring in to the business such as a mentor or advisor to keep you virtuous to that plan and on track- address the “excuses” and don’t be seduced into taking the easy path or thinking you have “made it”- that’s when problems can appear very quickly – don’t ignore the power of experienced advice- you may learn from their mistakes and avoid them!
  • Embrace technology but keep it simple. What tools do you need for the business to operate effectively?
  • Be passionate & positive about what you do- if you’re not excited about what your business can do for others then you cant expect others to get excited either- remember also that there will be times when the business becomes stressful, your self-talk is every bit as important as the way you talk to others- make sure you have someone you can speak to in order to share the concerns and give you a shot in the arm when you need it!

So, in summary – starting and then running a business in whatever sector you chose is never an easy task however its important to remember that there is nothing holding you back from making your business a success other than yourself so we hope you have found these tips of some benefit and leave you with the words of Thomas Edison who said……..

“Most people miss opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Lockwood and Rann is a Management Consultancy that specialises in supporting SME’s – to find out more how we can support you to grow and succeed with your business call Mark Clough on 07885 447039 or email mark.clough@lockwoodandrann.com