Growing a business bottom-up can remove a lot of risks and build a strong support framework.
Often when we think of growing a business, we think of bringing in a relatively high-level person first.
This could be a Recruitment or Search Consultant, a Manager, or even a General Manager.
Is this the way you envisage your growth?
I want to share another way of thinking about this that has less risk and is a more gradual approach to growth.
For the sake of clarity, I’m referring to recruitment businesses with only 1 or a few people.
If we take a bottom-up approach, you can gradually offload lower-level functions and work your way up to more senior responsibilities as profit increases and your business grows.
Where to start?
Most agency owners I speak to could do with a few more hours in their week and when you unpack what they’re spending their time on, a fair chunk can often be done by someone else.
So why isn’t it?
Well, usually because the business owner is getting busier by the day and until now hasn’t had a chance to stop and think what that could look like.
They’re concerned about what it will cost. (Far less in terms of the bottom line by the way.)
If we take our bottom-up approach and have a look at what you are currently doing that is under your paygrade such as formatting CVs, book keeping, posting social media, updating your database, etc there will be some quick wins here for you to delegate or outsource offshore.
Then once that’s handled and you have more space to work on growing your business, the next place to look is often operations. What more robust support do you need to help you keep the backend of the business running smoothly?
Could you use somebody to help manage supplier relationships, review and compare tech for your review and literally handle all those daily interruptions such as needing a new printer, buying a new phone, processing expenses, or handling low-level marketing? Could this person also manage your first outsourced person?
Getting this off your plate will help you focus on yet another level of growth. This could be more consultants, a marketing person (implementing your strategy, not creating it) at this point, and then a manager.
If you continue to grow and decide to remove yourself more from the day-to-day, it could be a General Manager or Director who also takes over a larger chunk of the vision and the strategy.
This is the point where you can choose to stay as a functional Director doing what you enjoy and are good at or coach more from the sidelines.
At some point in your growth, it’s likely you’ll be hiring consultants. Having a strong support structure around you first will help you spend more time helping them get more placements.
I appreciate there is a logical timeline to take these growth steps and they are cash dependent, but if your day is stretched and you are plateauing that is a good time to start.
Also, every business is different so please don’t read this as prescriptive, it is more to get you thinking about the process of growth and the different ways it could look rather than specific hires.
Let me know what you think.