Going it alone: Is 2014 the year to set up a recruitment business?

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We all know it has been a tumultuous few years but at last, the woeful headlines we became used to are becoming yesterday’s news. The climate is changing and the UK is showing signs of a brighter future. With this in mind, the Recruitment Buzz team recently asked their panel of esteemed experts one question; “With the turning economy, is it a good time to set up a recruitment business?” The general consensus was an indisputable “yes”.

Amongst the panel is Simplicity’s very own David Thornhill and for him, the answer was simple. He said, “The industry suppliers have had to reduce fees, so setting up is cheaper than ever. Making sure you know your market, though, is critical. Know what your clients require and get in at the right price. Research is a must.”

Another must-have is of course, finance. And that’s something David knows a thing or two about. As Managing Director at Simplicity, he has helped an array of recruitment businesses to reach their potential - and go beyond what they ever thought was possible. He advises, “Get your setup costs right. Outsourcing is the cheapest way to get all the support required to help grow your business. On getting your finance, try not to get into overdrafts and loans, also shy away from annual / monthly minimum fee borrowing.

“Remember - ask the supplier first. Try to plan correctly with finance, as cash is king. Borrow money as ‘pay as you go’ (i.e. you only pay a fee when generating an invoice) - this will ensure you know what your profits are and you can charge your clients correctly.”

Simplicity offers a variety of solutions designed with recruitment consultancies in mind and so, you may say, we are bound to glorify the option of setting up alone. However, there are plenty of like-minded professionals in the industry.

Take Lee McQueen, for instance. Known for his appearance on The Apprentice, he is an entrepreneur and recruitment sales expert and in response to the panel debate question he stated, “Now is probably the best time for the best part of the last decade to launch a recruitment company. We are seeing movement in the job market, record numbers employed across the UK and many employees looking to move from the hundreds of thousands of part time positions that have kept the economy moving during the recession.”

In agreement with Lee is Azmat Mohammad of the IOR. He says, “Consider this, according to BIS, (the government department for Business, Innovation and Skills), 99.9% of Britain’s businesses are classed as SME (Small to Medium size Enterprises). And the majority of those have less than 10 people.

“So that’s the majority of companies with no in-house recruiting departments and run by busy managers wanting to spend their time running their business. We know that however slow, economic growth is coming, and we expect sustained growth. These companies want to grow and they need to hire the right people to do it - that is a huge potential client base.”

Meanwhile, Senior Director of Sales at Indeed, Bill Richards, is keen to point out that with the turning economy, there will be more jobs available and job seekers will need more help to find the job that best suits their skills and preferences. He says, “Anyone thinking of setting up a recruitment company in order to take advantage of this turning tide must help job seekers find the best jobs in a way that suits today’s job seeker.”

In a similar vein, Joe Slavin of Johnston Press believes that whilst it may be an ideal time to set up a recruitment business, there is another motive too - the fact that we’ve still not found a perfect solution for finding or filling a job. He brands the current process as “de-humanizing” and “laborious for both clients and candidates” and says there is “loads of room for improvement”.

For us though, highly respected industry expert Liz Longman of TEAM gives a great round-up, “Some of our most successful Members started their businesses in difficult times” she says, “…and there is a lot to be said that if you can make your business work in a recession then you will doubly reap the rewards during better times. I think that any time is good to open a business if the individual has the required passion and drive. It’s not something you should do just because you think it might be easy!”

If you have the passion, drive and ambition to “go it alone” along with the desire to strive for improvements in the industry, 2014 could be the year in which you will truly reap the benefits. Get in touch with Simplicity today for a helping hand.

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