Recruiters get their fair share of bad press. I know I’m not the first person to suggest this & I know I won’t be the last. Business Owners, equally, come under fire from time-to-time on main stream social media & business platforms. So, when Greg Southern came to SSG in 2013 with the desire to start his own R2R agency – some might have suggested he was entering the most disliked & challenging area of both recruitment & business.
SSG wouldn’t agree.
And although I can’t speak for the entire recruitment world, I can speak for SSG when I say that our relationship over the years with Greg & his team has been as far from “unlikeable” as possible & as rewarding as taking the top of a yogurt, “yogurt free”. I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Greg about the last couple of years, at a rather exciting time for him. At the end of last year Greg moved into his brand-new offices in the heart of Manchester & has also brought on a new consultant. & therefore SSG felt it was a perfect time to grab 10 minutes with him to understand a little bit more about what had brought him to this exciting stage in his life.
Here’s what we discussed, & who knows perhaps you can draw some parallels with Greg & his experiences?
1. Why did you decide to launch your own recruitment business?
I had been made redundant from an agency and then joined another who then wanted to relocate. I wanted to be in control and make all the decisions myself. I had spent a lot of time working out what the costs would be and what my potential profit would be from a placement. I was certain that if I could make placements, I could make it work.
2. What had stopped you in the past? (what concerned you about starting up on your own?)
I was worried that people might perceive me as a 'one man band' and that with the lack of an established brand that I might struggle to secure roles. Having worked my market in a few different companies I started to realise that if I had a great product and service to match, then it really didn’t matter who I was working for. Even if that was myself!
3. Did you look at any other options before deciding to launch with SSG?
I did. I explored a few different options. Many had a monthly fee which had to be paid regardless of whether the business was generating revenue. Others were part of a franchise where you would use someone else's branding and identity.
4. How did you find the launch process with SSG?
Extremely smooth. I am a bit of a control freak but on this occasion I was happy to let go and have all of the business set up taken care of for me. I had regular updates from the team and the whole process was completed very quickly.
5. What challenges have you faced being a Recruitment Entrepreneur?
You get used to the rollercoaster ride of recruitment working for someone else, but once you're working for yourself all of that is magnified. The lows are very low and you have to remain motivated.
6. What elements have been "easier" than you thought?
The back office, because SSG take care of all of that for me. Whilst I educated myself on what I would need to do, having a team of people at SSG to outsource the day to day admin of running the business has been extremely valuable.
7. What advice would you give someone thinking about starting up on their own?
I would suggest that someone thinking about starting up on their own should research the financials of their business. How long you might have to wait for invoices to be paid, what your costs are likely to be, how much corporation tax would be due on a placement fee, what expenses you can claim. I had a very clear idea of the financial side of the business and that was helpful once I started to make placements so that I could manage the cash flow. Because as they say, cash is king!
It takes a lot for a business owner to start employing consultants & building a team around them – as we always say, it’s like giving part of your baby away every time & entrusting those consultants to take care of that baby! But having had the privilege of understanding even more about Greg & his business, it is clear that he has been focussed on developing a business that is very reflective of him as a person & how he likes to work. & looking at the successes over the last couple of years – it’s clearly working.Don’t stop doing what you’re doing Greg.