lifestyle or legacy 2

There are 50,000 recruitment agencies in the UK. The last thing the world needs is another one. To rise to the top, you need to bring something clever and genuinely different to the market, and have the balls and brains to make people believe it. 

Hopefully Part 1of this series will have given you exactly what you need to ask yourself honestly whether you’ve fallen into the lifestyle trap. But, if you’re wondering how you’re ever going to lead a multi-million-pound business, don’t worry – I’m not going to leave you high and dry.

In Part 2, we’re going to look at how you can get match-fit in order to not only survive, but thrive in the competitive world of recruitment. 

Be honest with yourself

As I hinted in my last piece, moving from lifestyle to legacy requires an honest appraisal of two things: your business, and you as its leader. 

Question yourself in terms of your fitness to take the business forward:

Are you inspirational? Can you tell a good story? Are you truly believable? Are you consistent? You might have been a top fee-earner in your old job, but that only makes you a good recruiter. A good leaderis always on and they do unselfish work for others to reach a common goal. After all, without a loyal team to lead, you will be lost.

Meanwhile, it’s crucial to make sure you’re not flogging a dead horse with the business idea itself.

What does your business stand for? What are your USPs? Are you doing anything genuinely clever or innovative? Spend some time noting this down so that you have clear answers to these questions. And when reading them back, if you can say ‘so what?’ to any of them, make a change or give up altogether.

Take strength from others

But don’t give up. The journey ahead may look like a mountain, but you won’t be climbing it alone. Take a look around you to understand how you can get help. Nobody is perfect, and no business model is without its flaws. The trick is understanding those flaws and surrounding yourself with people who can help you address them.

Part of this involves getting match-ready as a leader. Business coaches, mentors, networking… all of these can help you evolve from recruiter roots to become a well-rounded entrepreneur. But that doesn’t mean doing it all yourself… Leaders drive businesses by working onthem, not inthem. So learn to delegate, and fast.

Identify your genius – what is it that you are brilliant at? Identify this, and free up your time so you can focus solely on it. By empowering your team and outsourcing to experts – finance, marketing, and the like – every element of your business will benefit from nothing but the best expertise and closest attention. 

Recognise and prove a winning formula

When you recognise a winning formula, pile in with energy and resources to get the most from it. Understand where the gap is and make sure everything you think about or deliver is aligned with your value proposition. And, most importantly, make sure you can demonstrate exactly that: value.

If you’re all about customer service, are you measuring it with reviews? If you claim to deliver candidates in the top percentile, how do you prove it? Or perhaps yourpeople are the experts. In which case, how much training are you giving them, and how much exposure are you getting?

Put weight behind your concept and people will begin to believe and buy into the winning formula just as much as you do.

Don’t go stale

The thing about innovation is that it doesn’t stay innovative for long. You may have filled a gap in the market now, but how will you stay different as your competitors cotton on and catch up? To build and sustain a legacy, you need a dashboard to make decisions quickly – and the bravery to not just execute them, but to make a change if it goes wrong.

In theory, lots of things look like they will work, but look quite different in the cold light of day. So don’t persevere for the sake of it – it’s critical to make sure that the business can stand in its own right. If you keep having to prop it up, it will never survive and thrive.

As you grow, you might also reach your own limit to take the business forward. Don’t be frightened to employ someone higher than you. Some of the people in our network have employed CEOs over them in time, and their business has thanked them for it.

In recruitment, you never get to a million-pound business. It’s multi-million or nothing. If you hit a vein of gold, that’s you set for life. That’s why it’s worth putting in the graft to go from lifestyle to legacy, but also why so few leaders and businesses actually reach their potential. It’s survival of the fittest at its finest.