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The Secret Inch Wide Mile Deep Strategy Of High Growth Recruitment Organisations
Posted by Nicky Coffin
Many recruitment directors and owners I speak to want to scale their business with a view to increasing gross profit. The outcome being that they are in exactly the perfect position for the dream management buyout or sale a few years down the line.
All logical according to most experts. Speak to any ‘business’ growth specialist and they will tell you that the only reason to be in business is to scale your current organisation ready for sale.
But how Nicky?
How is a question I am usually first confronted with followed by a list of ‘things’ the owners think they need to do ‘now’ or at least in the immediate future.
They are usually surprised by my response when I tell them to take 90% of ‘things’ off their to do list.
Because the reality is for your recruitment business to grow there are only a few key things that will need your time and energy.
The first is to hone the market you are operating in down to a specific niche/sector.
I’ll let that one land for a second.
The truth about going niche
Depending on the mindset of the owner in question I get differing responses. The truth is that in today’s marketplace, niche wins every time.
The days of the big generalist recruitment giants are over; unless you have money to burn on marketing and positioning to literally ‘buy’ the best clients and candidates around.
Think about it. We live in an online and interconnected world where with the right strategy and action any recruitment organisation can be an authority in their niche.
The inch-wide mile deep strategy is all about finding your niche, that one focus area that is going to yield the best results for you and your business.
The fastest growing and most profitable businesses position themselves as niche specialists.
The business has a well-defined target market and a well-defined set of services that clearly differentiate them from their competition.
A short TRUE story to illustrate this principle
When I sold my recruitment company I started life as a performance coach. I could help lots of different manager’s, leaders and sales people. In fact, my first website had multiple ‘niche’ markets listed – 5 to be exact… In hindsight total madness. Then after a few conversations the penny dropped for me that the most logical people to work with were………. drum roll……. recruitment companies: Making that decision to focus on one market only totally changed my results and one of the best decisions I ever maide.– was the best I ever made.
I knew the market inside out and exactly how to help them. As they say the rest is history and in the last few years my own organisation has seen exponential growth while at the same time I have had more holidays and worked less; oh and have been able to be around to spend time with my new born son; including extended trips to America and Australia while my business continued to grow.
As I’ve demonstrated in my own business. This happens in all sectors and, what’s great is it’s a perfect strategy in recruitment.
This is one of the most important decisions to get your head around if you are serious about accelerated growth.
The many benefits of being niche
Here are a few things to consider.
- Imagine the difference it makes to your customers when you have a deep understanding of what’s going on for them?
- You understand everything about ‘their market’
- You can provide services that consistently produce quality and innovative services that match their needs.
- You become the go to person in this market – a knowledge leader
- Clients don’t quibble over fees anymore because they are buying from an expert
- Candidates come to you because you ‘know’ and are ‘working with’ the best in the market
……………………………….and the list goes on.
The crippling effect of ‘busy work’
While working with clients over the years I’ve seen and heard lots of reasons while people don’t or won’t focus on a single niche.
Historically from our childhood we tend to think that more is more. The more we focus on meeting more people, doing more work and gathering more business cards, the more business we think we will accumulate.
If you have this approach? Fact: You will not be able to scale your business – you will always be swamped with work and unfortunately work that’s neither profitable or fulfilling.
I do understand what is going on for you here. I know a lot of business owners find it difficult to focus on one thing because:
- They are afraid of missing out on potential business,
- They feel secure having lots of possibilities
- “But I thought if I had all these clients I’d be OK?”
- Busywork makes me feel like I am doing something
I say this with love and at some point you have to stop if you want different results. A friend I know has a saying it goes something like this:
“If I say yes to this I am saying no to something else; that is potentially way bigger”
What is waiting on the other side
What would your business look like if you focused your efforts on placing only high quality candidates into high quality positions? How would it feel to spend your time focusing only on the things that work in your business?
The reality is that you can be happier and much more efficient if you focus your efforts on serving the right people, in the right market and in the right way.
High performing consultants are the lifeblood of any successful recruitment organisation. The challenge starts when your recruiters underperform. There is a solution and I cover it in-depth in my latest ebook; How to Convert Your under Performers to Consistent Billers in 14 Days or less. You can download it here.