The beginning of the year is a time for new resolutions and grand plans, many of which will be forgotten in a few weeks.
But there’s something to using fresh year momentum while you have it.
For staffing firms, now is the time to take some steps to start your year off right, especially if you are looking to grow 10, 20, 30% or more. Here are five tips for using the momentum and excitement of the new year to plan for the rest of it.
1. Right people, right roles.It is time to take a hard strategic look at your internal staff. The main question to ask yourself is, do you have the right people in the right roles? When your goal is to grow, sometimes there are gaps you need to fill. Maybe it is having a more robust sales team, or hiring more recruiters. Are you getting maximum productivity out of the staff that you do have, and if not, what can you do to facilitate it? Along with rewarding high performers, you also should honestly assess low performers or those with poor attitudes. Left unchecked, they can drag everyone down. Make a resolution to make tough decisions when necessary.
You should also consider how you are making your employees feel valuable. Beyond just medical and other benefits, what do you do for them? Can they work from home? Do you celebrate milestones? Do you let them volunteer time? According to a report from Manpower, most modern employees want flexibility and are open to more than just the traditional 9-5 model. Would giving your employees more flexibility and autonomy work in your business? It is something to think about as you start out a new year.
Tip: Do some research on prevailing wages in your industry to make sure you are staying competitive in terms of compensation.
2. Lock in on key targets, maintain relationships.Hopefully you have done your research and know some key target accounts that you want to land. How are you going to approach it this year with a growth mindset? A good way to start is to nurture new relationships with a well thought out communication strategy, and get in front of people face-to-face as much as possible. Go to conferences and meetings, make local connections, ask for introductions.
However, while you are going after shiny new accounts, do not forget about your existing relationships. The Pareto principle says that 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your clients - have you visited that 20% in person in a while? Also consider what you can do to keep your “at risk” clients from jumping ship.
Tip: Plan out your year ahead of time by researching local and national conferences and events and block off time to attend or send a representative.
3. Evaluate your technology.Your technology infrastructure might serve you well enough now, but you have to ask yourself: does it allow you room to grow? Technology changes so fast that if you have not looked in a while, you might not even know what is out there. If you use an ATS or CRM, do you know all the options available to you? How is your website performing? Take time to carefully audit your technology from a growth mindset.
Tip: A basic technology tip that is easy to implement is to ensure that people-facing employees in your organization are all on LinkedIn.
4. Review your vendors.
It is time to review your vendors, and see if any contract renewals are coming up in this year. Who does your printing? Website management? Office supplies? Even if you are satisfied with a relationship at the moment, will they be able to fulfill your needs as you grow? This is especially a consideration if you use local, smaller vendors. It is worthwhile to at least evaluate the pros and cons of each of your vendors as you consider how to proceed in the new year.
If you have a line of credit through a bank, it is also a good time to look at that relationship. Are you consistently maxing out your credit line to keep your business running and temporary workers paid while you wait on invoices? Can your current credit line sustain you if you grow your business by 10%? How about 30%? It may be time to look at different specialty financing options.
Tip: Call your vendors and mention you are looking elsewhere. Ask, what can they do for you?
5. Check your progress against your business plan.Are you where you want to be with your staffing firm? As a busy staffing entrepreneur, it is probably hard to find the time to take a step back and really evaluate where you are versus where you want to be based on your business plan. But doing so can be a valuable exercise to keep your long term goals top of mind. It’s also worth looking at whether your current metrics match up with your goals. If not, you may consider new metrics.
Tip: If you don’t have a structured business plan for your staffing firm, download a free template here.
About the Author
Barb Hammerberg, CCWP has held almost every job that exists in staffing firms, from recruiter to regional director at some of the largest staffing firms in the world. She brings decades of experience and industry knowledge to her role as the Director of Client Development at Advance Partners.