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1st Birthday Celebrations

by Max Jones / Thursday 1st December 2016


Everyone knows when they were born, don’t they? For me it was the 24th February & for years on that day has been a day of celebration, presents & the occasional “blurry” night… I am sure we have all had our fair share of them during our years.

For many, birthdays are the one day of the year you always remember. The one day of the year that means something to you, to your family, & to your loved ones. Your 13th, 18th, 21st, 30th… all important dates that undoubtedly mean a serious amount to you.

But what about your first? It’s funny, your 1st birthday is, arguably, the most under-rated birthday you have. Do you remember anything about it? What did you get? What did you do? Who was there? What cake was there? All seriously important questions, I know you can’t answer.

And while there is a reasonable excuse for us to not remember much from our first birthday, there is not a rational explanation to ever forget your 1st year as a business owner. For our clients, here at SSG, the first year of trading in their own business can best be described as emotional. Working for yourself makes the “highs higher” & the “lows lower” & I think sometimes, clients don’t appreciate quite how far they’ve come. A year is a long time in recruitment & when you work for yourself I think one of the best things to constantly do is reassess why you made the leap, where you are & where you are looking to go.

So, with that in mind, I had a chat with Simon Wooden. Simon is Managing Director of Straight Forward Recruitment & after 9 years in agency employment Simon decided to make the tantalising leap from employee to “Business Owner”. Here’s what we discussed when we had a chat just last week…

1) Why did you decide to launch your own recruitment business?

Launching my own agency has long been the dream, so when I came across the SSG offering (i.e. all the back office rubbish being done for me) it seemed a natural choice. Also the idea of being my own boss, and building something for my own and my family’s future. Also I have always thought I was good at what I did so needed to prove that to myself, I guess.

2) What had stopped you in the past? What concerned you about starting up on your own?

Money.  I always thought I was going to need hundreds of thousands to invest and get going, plus organising all the payroll, legal and technical support needed for a business put me off. I love selling, meeting clients etc. but thought I would not have time to do this. Also the element of risking it all financially was daunting, especially when I was earning good money where I was.

3) Did you look at any other options before deciding to launch with SSG?

Nope, from my initial phone chat with David and subsequent meetings SSG seemed the obvious choice. What I liked was the honesty and that David had even said you are giving a lot up to start again, and went through the bad bits not just the good bits.

4) How did you find the launch process with SSG?

Great, it was really smooth and hassle free (apart from me messing about with the website several times). Again SSG were honest, upfront and just offered genuine advice without only telling me what I wanted to hear.

5) What challenges have you faced being a Recruitment Entrepreneur?

It has been a lot harder than I expected; we have really struggled to establish ourselves with the temporary workforce. This has meant we are not growing as quickly as I would like to, because we are not over selling at the minute while we establish ourselves. The other side of this is competing with the “big boys” who have the capability to work to tighter margins and are already established in the area. As a result we have taken on a specialist perm recruiter to complement our temp team.

6) What elements have been “easier” than you thought?

Paying myself, based on the figures we do, I did not think I would pay myself what I do. Whilst still short of what I used to earn by about half, but actually it is cheaper to run the business than I expected. Also I have attracted 3 great employees all with experience which I thought might be hard, as not everyone would want to join a start-up, even though I am the best boss ever!

7) What advice would you give someone thinking about starting up on their own?

Just do it, stop thinking about it and speak to SSG. If you believe in your ability as a recruiter then let SSG do all the other rubbish, be your own boss and work the way you want to work, and build YOUR own company in exactly the way you want to.

Simon has seriously gone from strength to strength in the last year & a bit. We feel outrageously privileged to have been given the opportunity to support him on his journey &, while I know it sounds cliché, we seriously believe (having already expanded & brought on staff) Straight Forward Recruitment will continue to grow, expand & continue to develop into the vehicle I know Simon wants it to be.