Wow, five years, where did that go?! Last week Temporis Legal Recruitment celebrated our 5th birthday, proving the saying that time flies when you’re having fun…well for me anyway! I can’t quite believe that it has been 5 years since Rosie and I walked into our tiny office armed with two PCs and a couple of notepads and thought right, lets go for it! Five years later and we are enjoying huge success far beyond those dreams that we had all those years ago, we have a fantastic team around us and have moved from that tiny room to a beautiful open plan office. These past five years have seen many learning curves, a few downs, far outweighed by the ups, awards, weddings and babies. I’ve been in recruitment for over twelve years but I have honestly learned more in the past 5 years than I have in my entire recruitment career.
At a recent networking event I was asked for my top tips for setting up a business. Whilst I don’t profess to be any kind of an expert, I thought that in celebration of 5 years of running a successful business I would list the 5 things that I have learnt over the last 5 years when it comes to setting up a business:
1. Know what it is that sets you apart and live by it.
In an extremely competitive environment it’s all about differentiating yourself from your competitors, thinking about what it is that makes you stand out from the many others that are trying to do exactly the same as you. It isn’t just about your USP, it’s about believing in your differentiator and living by that. Everyone can pay lip service but it’s the actually doing what you say will, day in day out, that will set you apart.
I set up Temporis Legal Recruitment in an attempt to try and bring personality back into recruitment. It is no secret that some see recruiters as “money grabbing” or to quote an article I recently read “happy to sell their grandma for the right price!” I wanted to buck that trend and set up a recruitment consultancy focused on building candidate and client relationships rather than just another agency focused on making as much money as possible to the detriment of candidate and client experience. Five years on if you were to ask me if I’ve achieved my aim I would say that yes I genuinely feel that I have. I have a fantastic team around me who are on the exact same page as me when it comes to dealing with our candidates and clients. As a result of the way in which we work over 75% of our business is from repeat clients and we work with a large number of candidates for whom we are their preferred, if not their only, agency.
2. Linked with my first tip, the second is to know your market and remain true to yourself and your business when operating within that market.
The recruitment market has changed a lot over the last five years. In what has increasingly become a candidate driven market recruitment processes have changed with some agencies adopting tactics that aren’t really doing much to dissuade clients from thinking that all recruiters are cut throat, money hungry sharks. Candidate duplication is rife with agencies conducting what they term “speculative research” namely, sending a candidate’s details throughout a certain area without giving the candidate any information as to where exactly their CV is going. All that this creates is confusion on the candidate’s part when they learn that a firm has seen their CV sometimes three or four times, and frustration on the client’s part when they see the same CV repeatedly from different agencies. This sort of duplication rarely results in a placement leaving both candidate and client utterly frustrated.
When coming up against this sort of recruitment it is so easy to think well if you can’t beat them join them, and I would be lying if I said that the thought hadn’t crossed my mind the tenth time I came up against yet another agency sending a candidate’s CV without their permission. However, our morals and honesty as an agency are what sets us apart and whilst in some situations we may not get the “quick win” we almost always get the repeat business from the clients and candidates who value and appreciate the fact that we never, ever send a candidate’s CV anywhere without obtaining their permission first. Stand by your morals and this will stand you in much better stead for the long run.
3. Never ever underestimate the value of a good working relationship.
Be that with your clients, your colleagues, third party providers, the list goes on! Relationships are paramount is a core value of my business. This is true in all aspects of how I run Temporis from dealing with colleagues, external suppliers and third-party providers to our day to day communications with clients and candidates. It is instilled in all team members in how everyone treats their colleagues and it is at the forefront of how we deal with our candidates and clients. This focus on relationships is why people use Temporis again and again. Candidates and clients alike value our honesty and integrity, two values that we pride ourselves on and that some would say are lacking within the recruitment industry.
Everyone has heard the quote about how people are much more likely to complain and make negative comments than they are to pay a compliment. When running a business especially one like recruitment where it is all about people, you have to make sure that everyone who comes across your path feels that you have listened to them and valued them. You obviously can’t please everyone but if you have done all that is possible to build a positive working relationship you can’t ask anymore.
4. Don’t be afraid to be choosy about who you work with.
When you are just starting out there is the temptation to work with whatever comes your way in terms of business. Certainly as a new business owner wanting to start making money the temptation to act first think later is huge. You see it as a client who wants to work with you but you don’t necessarily think about the potential pitfalls – what if they can’t pay their bills? What if they have a terrible reputation? There is nothing more difficult than turning down a client who, on paper, sounds perfect! However, you are saving yourself a lot of heartache in the long run, chasing debts is far from fun!
5. This is going to sound cheesy but here goes…..if you don’t ultimately love what you do then don’t do it!
Setting up your own business is incredibly hard, there are many sleepless nights and quite a few times where you ask yourself is it all worth it?! However if you love what you do then you know that it always is, ultimately, worth it. The past 5 years have been amazing but there have been some very trying, testing times, moments where I have honestly asked myself am I doing the right thing. Running a business is not all hearts and flowers but I honestly love my job, I love my business and although there are a few downs the ups far outweigh them.
To quote Confucius – “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”