Starting Off – A Recipe for Success
Small Business, Big Decisions
So, you’ve made the decision to start your own recruitment business. You know your market, you know your competitors, you have an established network and the passion and drive to succeed.
As you begin to turn your dream into reality, all the practicalities of a start-up come to the fore, such as securing finance, premises, building your brand and online presence. It can be a little overwhelming at first, especially when it comes to technology. There is so much jargon and so much choice.
Investing in technology is no longer an option, it’s essential. Digitization sits at the very heart centre of any successful business, ensuring you’re connected, competitive and cost-effective. However, it shouldn’t follow that the technology must be complicated or over-engineered, especially when your focus is growing your new business.
When it all boils down, there are just four key steps:
Step 1: Define your business needs in the short and medium-term
Step 2: Prepare a shopping list of options. Avoid ruling anything out at this stage.
Step 3: Weigh up the pro’s and con’s and mitigate risk
Step 4: Decide and deploy
Now, let’s talk about the method…
Shopping List – Define Your Business Needs
Somewhere near the top of your shopping list is likely to be mobility. Today’s technology and collaboration tools, give us the freedom to work from almost anywhere, if we have the basic elements of Internet connectivity, phone and email. Building a mobility strategy into your requirements is financial savvy too. It can reduce overhead, such as travel or premises costs, increase productivity as you can work on the move and help you sustain competitive edge in terms of customer responsiveness. From a brand perspective, increased mobility also allows you to establish a wider presence with your client base at a fraction of the cost.
If you’re starting out on your own, mobility can be easily achieved with a basic laptop, but scalability is limited. If you are employing staff, consider whether you need to extend mobility to your team share data access. Remote working for employees, can not only reduce costs, but it can increase employee motivation and loyalty. With a wealth of affordable workplace collaboration tools available, such as Skype for Business and Office 365, you can easily stay connected too.
Just as mobility is important for you, it’s likely to be important for your clients and candidates, so when developing a website, consider making it mobile-friendly, as you could lose out to competitors who do. Search engines also favour mobile-friendly websites with better rankings.
You Really Can Have Your Cake and Eat It – Business Intelligence
Beyond the basic elements of email, administrative and collaboration tools, is the need to store, access and retrieve client and candidate data. Gone are the days when only large recruitment companies could afford specialist recruitment software and data analytics tools. The growth in affordable and flexible ‘software-as-a-service’ (SaaS) now means that every business, whether small or large, can benefit from best-of-breed digital capabilities and insights.
Consider leasing your recruitment software on a monthly pay-as-you-go basis, which means minimal capital outlay at a time when cash-flow is critical. As your business grows, you can simply add new users, so you’re only paying for what you consume. What’s more, you don’t even have to invest in lots of expensive hardware equipment upfront, as your infrastructure can be readily outsourced and securely hosted in the Cloud (Infrastructure-as-a-Service).
Most recruitment software is fully integrated with Microsoft office and some, like Troy, integrate with other external applications, such as Broadbean, enabling you to quickly and easily post vacancies to multiple online job boards. Automating these processes, means that you will spend less time managing data and more time engaging with your clients.
The big benefit of using purpose-built recruitment software, is the business intelligence and insights they can deliver. These insights about your candidates and clients enable you to quickly and easily identify new business opportunities, so you can take purposeful action to be more competitive and even more successful.
Avoid Getting Burnt
If you have access to technology expertise and the resources to invest in your own hardware, then you may prefer to run your business on a local server network (private cloud). These days however, Cloud-based solutions deliver more bang for your buck in terms of scalability, speed and enhanced security.
You may decide that all you need is a laptop to get your business started, however consider the risk of a hardware failure or the laptop getting lost or stolen. Many small businesses and start-ups rank data security as a primary concern. Protecting your business and your client and candidate data should be paramount. There are numerous advantages for choosing a Cloud-based solution which can significantly reduce your security risk and ensure business continuity if something goes wrong.
A Helping Hand
From time to time, things go wrong, which is why developing and maintaining a strong relationship with your software and IT provider is important. It is an investment worth making to put a relevant support contract in place from the beginning, to ensure help is at hand when you need it. Relying on employees who may not have the technical know-how to resolve problems that could be resolved more quickly and efficiently by an expert, can waste valuable time and money for your business.
Taking some time out at the start to define your technology needs and select the right recipe, will give you the confidence to grow and develop your business in the months and years ahead, ensuring the perfect bake.