Even with all the experience you’ve gained in the recruitment business, going it alone means you now have to run a business. And that’s different. From now on you’re the boss.
From the outset you’ll need to get your finances in place. Starting-up needs capital. You may of course have some of your own, but arranging firm financial backing is essential. It’s the bedrock of your business and being under financed and ill-advised at the start can be catastrophic.
Next, you’ll need to have a solid financial plan that takes you from the thrill of the launch through to the reality of being operational. Initial capital expenditure will obviously include computers, furniture, phones and legal expenses. Even if you’re flying completely solo, or maybe with just a partner to start off, there are employment issues to address. But, if you’re taking on staff from the start you need to get it right. You’ll be used to finding people of course! You’ll probably know a thing or two about CV’s and interviews. Now though, it’s your responsibility to ensure that their induction, salary, tax and NI are all sorted and legal. Most important of all, come the end of the month they’ll want to be paid.
And so will you! Being employed as a consultant may have had its frustrations, but that salary arrived in your bank account every month, even when you didn’t have the best of months. From here on you’ll need to ensure that the income and cash flow are running like clockwork to meet all your obligations, including an income for yourself.
The key point about all of these financial implications is that aside from firm backing, you’ll need advice and support beyond the initial launch. Ideally seek input from someone who knows the recruitment market.
While you’re getting the finance, and property, and staff sorted, you’ll also need to be considering your brand and identity. It’s another key point that up to now has been someone else’s problem. You’ll probably be really excited about this bit though. Your own logo! You’ll have ideas for the name and what it should look like. Beware! Even if you’re the best recruitment consultant within miles it doesn’t necessarily make you a great, or even good, designer. You’ll need a brand that works across all media, and have the master designs produced to industry standards for production.
When it comes to your brand, website, stationery and signage get expert help from a design team. They’ll know what they’re doing and they’ll be able to give you objective advice. The enthusiasm of starting up can sometimes mean that you’re too close to see clearly.
So, up and running you’re out there bringing in the business. Time was you came back to the office and put the new work straight into the system, and got on with the next job. Wait a minute! The systems! Your new recruitment agency is going to need all the back up and back office needed to process clients’ work, from day one.
If you’re going to deliver the outstanding levels of client service you’ve told the world about, you need expert guidance and support to install industry compliant back office systems before you start to trade.
Get in to the zone! The chances are that you’ll start with a portfolio of clients who’ve said they’ll be with you from the start. That’s great, but it’s unlikely to be enough. Servicing those clients to the standards they expect, as well as finding new business is going to be demanding. You need to focus. Because being the MD is fine, except without business coming in you won’t be an MD for very long. Learn to prioritise, delegate and take expert advice.
To develop and grow your business you need to know that the finances, branding and back office systems are not just in place but in good order. Worrying about how you’ll pay the next bill won’t help you win new business.
Running your own business is exciting and rewarding. You wouldn’t be doing it if you didn’t have experience in the market, drive and enthusiasm. Not to mention the ambition to ‘do it your way’. But, going it alone shouldn’t be lonely. A good MD of a good recruitment agency will draw on expert input.
Money, marketing and management systems are the essentials. Get them in place and you’ll handle being an MD very well.
About The Author
David Simons has extensive recruitment knowledge and experience having worked in the industry for over 20 years. He is currently Managing Director of Recruit Ventures where he works closely with joint venture partners, assisting and advising them on their start-up businesses. You can contact David or find out more about Recruit Ventures via:
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