Ah, the first 90 days.
It seems to be commonly thought that in the first 90 days of trading you’re meant to feel a whole wave of emotions. You’re meant to feel excited. You’re meant to feel fearful. You’re meant to feel apprehensive. You’re meant to feel nervous.
Over the many many years that SSG have been fortunate enough to have supported motivated entrepreneurial recruiters in their own agencies – a few things are very clear. Of course, people are excited (heck – you should be!) but the more overriding, perfectly understandable & rational feeling is apprehension. After all, it’s the unknown, you’re meant to approach the first few months with a little bit a trepidation. It’s normal.
So, in light of that, what can you expect? While every recruiter’s first 3 months are slightly different, there are a few trends that we’ve seen over the last 15 years. There are a few key things to look out for and to really focus on within those first 90 days that can really (assuming they are executed in the right way) create a viable foundation for the new business you are looking to create. So; let’s explore what they are…
The correct infrastructure
You’ve heard the saying – if you want to build a house, what’s the first thing you do? You take that first brick and you make sure that that’s the best brick you’ve ever laid in your brick-laying life. it’s exactly the same when you’re starting a recruitment agency. (I promise that’s the last house building reference you’ll see in this article, I promise…).
The infrastructure you need to think about tends to be focused, in my view, on 4 main areas.
- The back office foundations
- The legal and compliance “arm”
- The creative and branding details
- The candidate procurement elements
If you were to take any element, our advice would be to ensure you do your research. Speculate to accumulate and all of that (cliché #2 I know…), but really the first 90 days should be geared towards making sure that your infrastructure is there.
In our experience, it always helps to have some clear objectives wherever you’re talking to a provider who could offer one aspect (or all the aspects) you need to start your business. Those objectives are:
- Do you believe they can do what you need them to do?
- Do you believe they “get” what you’re looking to do?
- Do you believe you’ll “get on” with them long term?
If you can answer all three of those questions with a resounding YES – then you’ve found the correct infrastructure for you.
The right support network
Now, of course, this is going to be something (you would hope) you already have in place before hitting the green button and starting your own recruitment agency. But just in case you haven’t, let’s take a look at the below.
I think for SSG over the years, one of the things that has become increasingly evident in the fantastic recruiters we support is that everyone (no matter “who” they are) start their own agency to better both themselves but also those around them. & therefore having the right support network around you is an integral part of riding the wave that is – the first 90 days.
That’s two-fold. Personally d,o you have the support network around you to really thrive? Have you got family members, friends or colleagues in your corner; people that you know you can lean on as and when you need them.
The second is professional. That’s why, if you look above, really believing you can “get on” with the professional support network you have in place is important. Of course this is a generalisation but I would strongly argue that the “best” professional network a recruiter can have around them while starting their own agency, are people who have done this before (I know, ground-breaking stuff, Max).
Make A Placement
Sometimes the first 90 days of running your own recruitment business can feel a little bit like trying to take a drink out a firehose – with a lot of moving parts and a lot of seemingly “un-recruitment” related processes to get in place, sometimes you can really take your eye off what’s really going to make this new business a success.
A placement (or two, or three, heck or four!..).
Yes, make sure you have the right support network in place to ensure that you don’t feel isolated and alone in this process; and yes make sure you have the right infrastructure in place to ensure you don’t leave yourself vulnerable and exposed in your own agency; but remember what got you to the fortunate position whereby you feel ready to start your own agency – placements.
Usually, in the first 3 months, SSG would expect a perm’ only recruitment company to have made a placement within the first 3 months. Sometimes it takes a little longer and rarely does it take any less than 90 days. On the temp’ side of things, of course, this can vary.
But the bottom line is – expect to feel excited, expected to feel apprehensive but also expect that everything about this business, bar making a placement, is important but not at the cost of making a placement; and then being able to financially create the foundations you want to them build the recruitment company you desire in the next 5-10 years.