Alongside our favourite Small Print warning about never entering a contract unless you can see how to get out of it is the old chestnut suggesting that the ‘Devil is in the detail’ of any agreement. So, before you run out of artificial stimulants struggling to keep you awake, let’s take a look at the nitty gritty, nuts & bolts, bottom line detail of the SSG Working Agreement.
SSG believes that each one of our 200+ businesses launched since 2003 has been unique & yet 90% of our Working Agreement is the same old waffle. So, I guess that what really matters at this point is the other 10% - which is really the detail we present back to you guys defining what we will actually deliver (our deliverables) and what we will charge you in exchange (our Service Charge). You might also want to know when you get the opportunity to physically review the Working Agreement of course? Seem fair enough?
An initial chat
We chat anytime, anywhere! We explain how we might help you to achieve what it is you want to achieve. 0% pressure, 100% confidential. Maybe 45 minutes. Nothing personal, just information & a glimpse into what SSG is like.
A discreet meeting
Maybe 90 -120 minutes over a posh coffee in a posh hotel. Evenings / weekends or working hours. All good for SSG. Relaxed, non-scripted. No presentations, no sales, no obligation, no anxiety. Come alone or ‘mob handed!’.
Talk, Talk, Talk
We talk to you & you talk to us about your conversations with your friends & family. What do they think? What do you think? We clarify, you question & we all listen. Take 5 minutes or 5 weeks. Either is good.
We present the WA!
That Christmas morning feeling sweeps over you as the bespoken SSG Working Agreement arrives with you to review. Time to forget St Nick & get a little cynical – after all not all great looking Xmas gifts come with batteries!
The Requirement List
During our meetings and conversations, SSG is really drawing up a ‘Requirement List’ – details of all of the tools that you might need to trade successfully. This Requirement List tends to be specific to you & your business and is integrated into the standard 90% of the WA.
What you & your business need?
Imagine that you need literally everything that SSG could offer to you. You need every tool, all of our talent and loads of our time. You are running temps, perms & contractors in every market sector. We also know next to nothing about your chosen markets & need to reinvent the wheel before we could support your business.
You are also likely to be hard to work with, grumpy, unreasonable and unresponsive. Were we all to go ahead by this point, then it is likely that we would be charge you the maximum of 30% in Year 1 of our Service Charge Schedule!
How much of what you need do you need?
The maths is easy – the more of what you need you can have but what you have will cost SSG what it costs SSG, which is what SSG will charge you for what you need. There are no limits on how much of this or how much of that – we can provide as much as you need but of course the more you want from SSG, the higher the Service Charge is going to be.
In SSG-Land, we have what we call ‘So What’ quantities – you need this number of postings or that many CV Search licences & we say ‘So What’, that’s fine. Anything more or less than the ‘So What’ quantities affect the Service Charge of course.
What is your Market – Temp', Perm’, Both?
We need to know what market you intend to focus upon. Obvious I am sure, but for SSG to support a 100% Perms business is significantly less expensive than for SSG to support a 100% Temp based venture. A solely perm' requirement reduces the back office support structures, the finance requirements & the payroll needs.
Once we understand the market, we need to focus on the sector – is it high volume, low value industrial temps or low volume, high value IT Contract staff. How will you find your candidates? What job Boards to you need, what software, what this & what that.
Are we already Expert in your field?
SSG promotes its offering as a trio of tools, talent & time – apparently we have lots of all three. Well, what if that is not true and we need to go out and acquire what your business needs? The truth is if we need to step outside of our 29 markets sectors (our wide ranging comfort zone), then perhaps we will need to increase our Service Charge towards the mythical 30% & we really don’t want to do that.
It is more than important to SSG that we provide you with tools, talent & time – not tools & a little bit of time or lots of time but no talent. You get the picture, yes? Your Requirements List is something we have to be able to deliver.
Do you feel the connection man?
Whatever we want to call it, we all need to feel the love! Without a genuine feeling that we are all going to get along and appreciate one another, then the relationship between SSG & a potential budding entrepreneur is going to be problematic at best. As scribbled almost everywhere on this web site, for SSG ‘once we are in it, we are in it’ & that means whatever the provision of the Working Agreement, we will do anything that we can to help.
Without a genuine sense that we can work well together, then we need to all accept that instinctively this is not the right relationship to be in. All businesses need support & we want that support to be freely given & easy to accept.
The Service Charge
So, we have our Requirement List – we know what you need & what you might want from SSG. We simply import that list into an Excel workbook and it neatly churns out a Service Charge Schedule, based on your agreed needs & our experience.
How much does SSG Charge?
Our Service Charge is a descending percentage of the on-going billings of the new business. Each year, the percentage that SSG will charge is reduced. This reflects that our costs diminish over time too (Year 1 being our most expensive year as we launch the business). By Year 4, we are zooming along knowing what you need inside out of course!
For SSG, the key is to ensure that we can see exactly how we can afford to support your business within the guidelines we have set (i.e. the Service Charge Schedule), whilst for our Clients, they need to feel comfortable that not only can we support you, but that the Service Charge Schedule feels fair and appropriate.
Where does the line start?
Obvious though it is - where the Service Charge Schedule line begins, determines how much SSG will charge. So, what determines where the line starts? Naturally enough, SSG relies upon the Requirement List – what does this new business need from SSG & how much will it cost SSG to provide the tools, talent & time? We also need to make assumptions about the billings of the business and then take a deep breath & commit!
Most of the Requirement List is about the tools required of course but there is a clear element of personality thrown in to the mix too – does SSG believe that our budding entrepreneur can do it, wants to do it & that we will all get along?
Which part of all of this is SSG Profit
The apparently tricky part of the presentation of the Service Charge Schedule is for SSG to accurately calculate not only the cost of SSG providing all of the tools, talent & time on the Requirement List but also to quantify various other imponderables – such as how much the new client will invoice, what their market will do over the few years and the changing cost structures faced by SSG.
So, in true British tradition we ignore most of the maths involved and let our instincts take over. After 200+ business launches and exposure to 29 market sectors, hundreds of budding entrepreneurs and every conceivable market condition, we just use our metaphorical ‘thumb in the air’ instincts. Mostly right, sometimes wrong.
Can the Service Charge Schedule increase?
Nope – absolutely not. The whole point of the Service Charge Schedule is to present to your business the worst case scenario that you will face over the term of your engagement with SSG. We want to provide clarity, security and trust. We are prepared to commit to you for 48 months without any tangible upfront evidence that you will be successful.
So, to be clear – the schedule is as high as it ever could be. Do we expect it to change over the 48 months? Absolutely. Will it go up? Absolutely not. Will it do down – very possibly! As your business develops, there are likely to be many occasions when we consider lowering the charges to release additional funds for you to grow. That works for you & for us too.
Is everything included in the Service Charge?
Please let SSG be clear on this one. The whole point of the Requirement List is for SSG to understand what tools, talent & time you might need to be successful. If we do not provide everything that you need, we are seriously compromising your ability to make placements - which is the only way that SSG earns a crust. So, whatever we all agree is on the Requirements List forms part of our offering & will be delivered to you by SSG. Fact. Crystal clear?
But – let us be clear on one other point too. SSG will over deliver. Whatever we say that we are going to provide – we will do more. If we say 10, then we want to deliver at least 12. If we say by the 19th, you can bet that we are working towards delivery on the 15th. It is in our DNA, it is how we work and how we want you to perceive us too.