5 things to remember when starting an agency in 2014
You’re clearly the intelligent, self-motivated and highly successful sort. You’ve billed well as a recruitment consultant and lined somebody else’s pocket for too long – It’s time to go it alone by starting an agency.
There are so many things to think about and questions to answer. We spoke to Laura who’s done just that to get an idea of what you need to consider for your 2014 start-up.
The three Ds:
Drive, Determination and Discipline. Your experience in the Recruitment Industry will have taught you that without these, you may as well throw yourself into a pit of ravenous hyenas fashioning some sort of antelope-meat onesie.
“Discipline is absolutely crucial when starting up your own company” says Laura, who started her own Recruitment firm in 2011. “I, like many other recruiters I’m sure, got fed up of being told what to do by my bosses. It does however mean you have to really push yourself every day because you don’t have that authority figure on the other end of the phone to shout at you if you don’t”.
There is no time to slack off in Recruitment, and with the latest REC reports indicating a 2014 surge in clients’ use of agencies, the business is most definitely out there and you need to be at the front of the queue, taking the lion’s share and not picking at the carcass afterwards.
Having full awareness of who your competitors are and what on Earth they’re up to is crucial. This is not to say you should instantly undercut their prices – There’s no need to cheapen your brand in a market where margins are already too tightly squeezed.
With such a fragmented UK recruitment market, there’s no one main competitor. No matter your geographical location or market, it’s worth noting that no one agency has more than 5% market share, so you need to keep your eyes on lots of enemies. Like a severe game of poker, suss out the other players and keep your cards close to your chest.
“You can gather information about competitors everywhere” says Laura. “Keep track of this information and use it to outwit them. Knowledge is power in this game”.
Know the industry:
2014 promises to be a year of exciting change and growth for the recruitment industry. The REC reported earlier this month that there is a 15-year high in the rate of job vacancy increases, while candidate availability is reducing and skills are becoming harder to find. This means a real turning of the tables for recruitment, and candidates are back behind the steering wheel.
“We are looking to diversify into new sectors for 2014” explains Laura. “We know that clients will be looking for candidates with very specific skill-sets, so we need to make sure we have the resources to supply these more niche requirements”.
Utilise Social Media:
Social Media is absolutely imperative in developing business in 2014. All of your clients, candidates and competitors are using it and you can’t afford to get left behind. Laura elaborates: “Social media has been a God send! You can manage contacts easily, cheaply and reach out to lots of people at once. Although picking up the phone is not redundant, it certainly is taking a bit of a step back to make way for social media”
Step aside old dog ‘n’ bone, there’s a new kid in the business development town… Although really it’s not even *that* new, it’s done a lot of growing up so make sure your understanding of it is razor sharp.
Promote your Unique Selling Point:
Standing out is everything. Without your USP you might as well head back to the land of employed and under the cosh.
“I started this business knowing that I am the kind of consultant that actually cares” Laura explains, “So many recruiters are in this industry for a quick buck and the industry’s reputation is not exactly great. I wanted to get across that my approach is different and I truly care about my clients and candidates. It helps develop deep and long-lasting relationships and loyalty”.