What are the biggest threats to the continued success of your business? LinkedIn facilitating direct hiring? An economic downturn? Growing internal recruitment teams? Increased competition? Changing regulation? While these may be big threats, they can also be distractions. You can adjust your business plan to improve your chances of success based on these factors but broadly speaking you have as much control over them as a feather in the wind.
Focus on areas within your control to maximise growth
Focusing on issues within your business where you have more control will have a far greater impact. Five areas of the business you should focus on:
1) Cash flow – if you manage this well by preparing regular cash-flow forecasts you can better plan for future hires, i.e. when you can and cannot afford them, and ensure that they are the right hires for your ultimate objectives rather than just taking on another recruiter for the sake of it.
2) Planning – if you haven’t planned the direction of your business and articulated that plan to your team then you will waste resources and struggle to get your team working together – something you can’t afford to let happen in such a competitive environment. Give your team a clear vision and confidence that you know what you are doing.
3) A balanced portfolio of clients – if any single client accounts for more than 20% of your revenue then you should look to reduce your dependency on that revenue stream and spread your risk.
4) Losing your top biller – what percentage of your revenue comes from your top biller? What would happen to your cash flow if you weren’t able to replace them immediately? Make sure that you know what your top performers are worth to the business (and to the competition) and keep them happy within means. Sometimes you simply won’t be able to keep them so always have a succession plan in place.
5) The phone – if your team is not speaking with candidates and clients then one of your competitors will be. Make sure there is always a hum around the office.
Alex Arnot is a non-executive advisor to SME recruitment consultancies helping them improve their growth and profitability.