By UK Recruiter at 18 May, 2012, 9:38 am
This is a guest post written for us by Richard Prime, Founder of Sonovate.comRecruiters are by nature entrepreneurial. After their first year of recruiting and once they’ve established themselves in the industry, gained a certain level of experience and built up a network, most begin to ask themselves the question: “If I can do this for an employer, could I do it for myself?” For most the answer is yes. The trigger to search for a new opportunity can be something simple such as a difficult manager, or frustrations with the market that they are working in. This can be all that is needed to plant the seed of doubt, and encourage them to leave the safety of a permanent role for the excitement of their own company.Before the internet age, setting up a recruitment business had its complexities. At a basic level it wasn’t difficult; all you needed was a phone. However, without online job boards and social media, it could be a struggle to acquire that constant source of candidates, required for any recruitment business to flourish. Now, however, recruitment entrepreneurship is easier than ever before. Most experienced recruiters will have a strong, carefully built network and access to a range of CV databases offered by job boards and social networks. Furthermore, as the industry matures it is becoming increasingly specialised, and small, boutique recruiters serving niche market needs are doing good business. I’ve worked with a number of recruitment entrepreneurs (and been one myself!) and I know that there are certain commonalities across all successful recruitment businesses. SpecialisingThe first choice to make is which sector will be your specialism. Common sense says continue in the area you worked in before you were your own boss. You should have a good level of expertise and a strong network. Landing those early clientsThen you’ll need some terms on the books. You will need to break down doors with hiring managers, and in most companies your previous employer will have set down a number of restrictions within your contract. I would never recommend breaking these, but for the majority, these restrictions are only relevant for a limited time period. And anyway, these shouldn’t put you off - if you’ve made it this far in the industry, then you no doubt know that winning business is always competitive. But you’ll also know how to win business, and how to service it. Your previous clients worked with you because of your knowledge and ability to deliver, not because of the company you worked for. Just keep doing what you’ve always done. Setting up on your own, you have a real advantage over established recruiters. You have the control and flexibility to decide how you value your client’s business, and nearly every case will earn considerably more, simply because your expenditures are less when going it alone. It’s in these first few months that real perseverance will pay off. Using online toolsRecruitment will always be anchored on human engagement, but it is becoming more of an e-business every year thanks to the rise of social media, online referrals, CV stores and job boards. You will of course exploit these tools in practice, but remember not to miss the boat yourself - let the trend work for you too. Thankfully, there is a host of excellent tools to help any start-up become an online recruiting machine. These include CRM systems (such as Bullhorn), timesheeting (e.g. ETZ) and job boards (e.g. Broadbean). Establish your business across multiple online platforms to create a consistent brand and help win new business. Keeping on top of the adminThis is the time when you want to concentrate all your resources on placing candidates and winning new business, but it will all be in vain if you don’t take care of those pesky back office considerations. The last quarter of 2011 saw cases of insolvency rise in recruitment businesses, often as a result of clients (who are themselves experiencing cashflow issues) holding back on payments. The last thing an embryonic business wants is to be stuck in a catch-22 scenario where it’s losing money because it’s wasting time chasing money. If you don’t have your house (and your books) in order then potential for growth will be frustrated.And growth is the aim, whether that is achieved by billing more or hiring additional staff. While you may start out alone, in time you should be growing and recruiting members of your own team. Indeed, growth could even come quickly and you will have control over its pace, since you’re now the one making decisions and banking the lion’s share of the client fees.While approximately 2000 recruiters set up their own companies every year, it may seem like the odds are stacked against recruiters going it alone – the factors that can make or break a young business are many. One of the key factors in a new recruitment business’s success is how much time they actually spend recruiting. It is the ability to sell that makes them good at their job, but often, their skill in this areas doesn’t match their ability to deal with operational and administrative tasks. Too often they spend their vital office hours dealing with time consuming admin – which will take even longer when the recruiter has no previous experience in, for example, invoicing, debt collection or VAT. There are, however, services available that can help recruiters as they take their first tentative steps in the market. With the support of these services behind them, recruiters are freed up to concentrate on closing deals and developing their business. The trend is towards a new, entrepreneurial recruitment practice in which back office worries like online branding and invoice-chasing are delegated to the service-provider. In the 2012 business environment, going it alone needn’t be such a daunting prospect. Increasing numbers of recruiters are taking control of their careers and exploiting this new model which gives them free rein to expand their own business by doing what they do best: recruiting.This isn't an advertising post - but I'll give Sonovate their little pitch... Sonovate is a cloud-based platform that takes care of these peripheral stresses, meeting a growing demand for the tools recruiters need to set up their own businesses quickly and easily....
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