Google ‘top tips for starting a recruitment agency’ and you will be inundated with results- ideas, tips, tricks of the trade. I am by no means claiming that I know more about this than anyone else out there on the internet…
BUT what I do have is a variety of ideas, collected from directors of the myriad start-up agencies I work with on a daily basis. I also have a couple of mates from my recruitment days, who have since gone it alone, so I asked this cross section of people - with hindsight, what worked, what were the challenges, and what would you absolutely NOT do next time?
These are the main themes I got:
- Ensure you register your company properly and get legally sound contracts in place.
- This one from a person who didn’t do this, and ended up not getting paid £20,000 in fees!
- Invest in Employer’s Liability and Public Liability insurance.
- Again, one that may be overlooked, but can result in costly fines that could close your business down before it even gets started!
- Have enough funds to get the company off the ground.
- Clearly this depends on the nature of your business, however the general rule of thumb seems to be - make sure you can get through 6 months with no money coming in.
- Secure a good back office company.
- Spending all your time at the beginning on admin, rather than servicing your clients and candidates, can have a longer term, negative impact. It may seem like another thing to spend your money on to begin with, but people who have used a back office service provider tell me it has been worth every penny.
- Invest in a good CRM.
- Your data is your most valuable asset; you don’t want to get 12 months in and find that you are missing out on potential revenue, because you had a candidate somewhere on a spreadsheet that could have been a placement for a client you forgot you took a job for 9 months ago and is advertising again.
- Choose a company name or logo without giving it due consideration.
- ‘Yeah that name sounds fine, and that logo is colourful so let’s do it.’ This will become your brand out there in the big scary world of recruitment, which, let’s face it, is a highly saturated market. The last thing you want is feeling the need to change these after you start trading- for example if people perceive it as inappropriate or irrelevant. This is not going to do you any favours, rebranding is TOUGH.
- Contact all your clients/candidates from your last recruitment job, without checking/adhering to restrictive covenants.
- We’ve all heard the horror stories of legal cases, fines, repossession of property etc.. On the ground, I have genuinely met a woman whose first venture starting her own business went bust after 5 months, due to the pressure from her previous employer watching and blocking her every move.. HAVE A PLAN of who you will target outside your restrictions, and be careful!
- Lastly, DON’T GIVE UP! This won’t be an easy ride, it may take a while to get where you want to be, but you deserve admiration and kudos for doing something for yourself. If you are diligent from the start, you will get there. Then the rewards will be massive, and I’m not just talking financially!