What It Really Takes to Own a Profitable Recruiting Business

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Feb 10, 2012

It can be relatively easy to open a recruiting firm, especially if you’ve decided to be a sole proprietor working from home It is much more difficult to create a profitable recruiting business. Starting a small business takes courage, but courage does not pay the bills. Have you taken the time to stand back and review all aspects of business ownership?

If you are your business and it can’t profitably run without you, you have merely created a job for yourself.

You are in business for two primary reasons:

  1. To generate profits
  2. To live the lifestyle of your dream

If you are not generating profits, to be blunt you don’t have a business — you have an expensive hobby.

The good news: it is never too late to make changes necessary to elevate your business to a new level of success. You can’t continue to do things the same way and expect different results. As a business owner, you need to embrace and implement change in order to take advantage of trends.

Have you ever wondered why…

  • Some recruiting firms barely generate $1m in sales, while others generate $1m each month or each week?
  • Many recruiting firm owners lose their business during economic downturns?
  • Some owners barely survive while other owners flourish?
  • A small percentage of owners sell their business for millions of dollars while others have nothing to sell?

According to the Bureau of Census who tabulated data for the Office of Advocacy of the US Small Business Administration, less than 29% of businesses survive ten years or longer.

It is critical that you take steps to protect yourself and your business starting immediately.

Owning a small business should not be just another job. It should provide you with a different lifestyle. It takes 100% of your personal time and financial commitment to be successful. I started my business as a single mom to give myself the opportunity to provide for my children and take summers off to spend more time with them. You can probably guess that I never took summers off because of the demands of my business. I also didn’t consider that along with the unlimited income potential came the possibility of earning less than minimum wage if I was not successful.

Review the goals you had set when you opened your business, in three specific areas:

  1. Personal
  2. Economic
  3. Retirement Goals

Most recruiting firm owners were motivated by money, freedom, flexibility, change, satisfaction, professional growth, and the security of ownership. Many owners also know and understand the pain of not taking a paycheck after they meet the financial obligations of their business.

Some of my own recommendations

Important essentials of a successful business include:

  • Financing
  • Budget
  • Business Plan
  • Revenue Generation Strategies
  • Entity Structuring
  • Insurances
  • Equipment
  • Value Proposition
  • Corporate Credit Cards
  • Website
  • Repeatable Systems
  • Applicant Tracking System
  • Professional experts including legal, accounting, technical and insurance

If your business is set up as a corporation, you cannot pay personal bills out of your business or with a business credit card. If you are sued, an attorney will pierce the corporate veil and you will be personally responsible. That is why it is also imperative to have your corporate minutes up-to-date.

Some of the insurance coverage to consider includes the following:

  • Property
  • Business Interruption
  • Liability
  • Key Person
  • Workman’s Comp
  • Health
  • Errors and Omissions
  • Life and Disability

It is critical that you have a clear exit plan, or you are probably making wrong decisions today. In this issue, Mike Gionta will conclude his 2-part series on how to avoid making some of these bad decisions when planning for your retirement

Other elements that must be in place are the following: a company positioning statement, value proposition, structured training, social media strategy, memberships, publications, corporate minutes, and a trust. You want to control everything but own nothing. Trusts are inexpensive and not only for the wealthy. A trust will protect your family, your business, and your assets.

Where do you start?

If you are caught somewhere between where you are and where you deserve to be as a business owner, complete the following:

  • Conduct a GAP analysis
  • Rework the revenue generating strategies of your business
  • Determine the best use of your time
  • Set minimum standards of performance
  • Manage by numbers — not emotion
  • No time? – hire a team
  • Hire eagles, not ducks
  • Implement repeatable systems
  • Hold yourself and your team accountable
  • Identify coaches and/or mentors
  • Work on your business at least one hour each week

The time to begin building and protecting your business is now. Review this article, conduct a GAP analysis, and then select three things that you will implement during the next calendar quarter.

If you want a copy of a GAP Analysis Sheet – email Barb at

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