How to expand your recruitment business
Zoe Morris, president of Mason Frank International
From the day our parent company launched its first recruitment agency in 2006 from a small office in Newcastle, we knew we wanted to expand and grow the business. Fast forward to 2019 and we’re opening in our eighteenth different location—we now have a base on four continents and can truly describe ourselves as global. While there will always be an element of luck involved in your success, there is much you can do to minimise any risk involved.
Know your business
It may sound obvious, but expansion should always boil down to you transplanting your existing model and values into a new territory. That means having a true grasp of what it is your company does and what it is that makes you, you.
We have always been dedicated to recruitment for niche technologies. The digital age has seen STEM sector professionals become increasingly in demand, but we stayed away from becoming a generalist recruiter and kept our focus on very specific platforms. When we look at new markets, we are working in the areas we know and understand, rather than starting from square one.
Make sure your people know you
While it’s imperative that you know your business, it’s also essential that the people working for you do too. If you have ambitions for your company, it’s important that you share this during the recruitment process in order to get the right hires, and use your internal branding to reflect your goals. We always like to promote from within and reward those who perform, so whenever we look to new locations, we offer our own people the chance to lead new offices. This means the culture we have is the same whether you’re in Scottsdale or Singapore.
Your best advert is your customers, which is the same in almost every business on the planet. Want to find the best burger in town? You may look at blogs, but you’ll always ask friends. Want to make a new career move? You may look to Google, but you’re just as likely to ask colleagues and peers for advice.
Making sure your name is associated with exceptional service is essential; having a reputation for delivery will give you a better relationship with the candidates you are placing, as well as ensuring repeat business from the companies you are working with. Your clients might have their own ambition to take on new markets, so providing a quality hire for them can often result in you being their first port of call when expanding their own operations.
That’s not to say that providing great service will result in a huge surge in sales alone. Marketing is an essential investment for your organisation. It’ll help establish your brand, which is important both to growing and then expanding. And don’t ever assume that what has been successful for you so far will automatically replicate itself in a new location—proper research will guide you far better than just your instincts.
For example, in Germany, Xing is a much more popular network for professionals than LinkedIn. German media is also more sceptical of foreign PR too, so we invested in a local agency to help us rather than waste money doing it on our own. We were able to promote ourselves far more effectively as a result, but had we went in blindly it could have been a costly mistake.
Don’t let fear of slipping up dampen your drive, though. Be bold and ambitious; you can achieve big things and take risks without being wild and carefree. Growing your business is thrilling and rewarding, and the journey should feel as exciting as the destination.