The phone finally stopped ringing, giving Brittney Hays a moment to breathe and reflect. Following a grueling year of pandemic-related starts and stops, business at her Tacoma, Washington, staffing firm was booming. Placements were up 230% in a matter of weeks with no sign of slowing down.
Hays, the owner of South Sound Staffing, is just one of many enthusiastic, enterprising staffing business owners who are optimistic about the future. In fact, according to a recent survey of staffing firm owners nationwide, 70% said they are predicting double-digit growth while 43% predict growth above 20%. Staffing Industry Analysts recently projected an 11% growth by December, which mirrors the accelerated GDP growth prediction of 6.5% by S&P Global Economics.
But like anything, too much of a good thing can be bad for staffing firms. Growing too quickly can cause real pain, and there are dozens of cases where staffing owners burned themselves out, spread their finances too thin, or saw negative word of mouth begin to spread because they could no longer deliver exceptional service.
Before you tackle the upcoming staffing boon, take the time now to prepare yourself by ensuring you have the following four key elements in place:
1. Knowing when to say no. Like a lot of staffing firm owners, Hays admits she has a hard time saying no. Fortunately, she understands that agreeing to every opportunity is a recipe for disaster.
“I don’t want to grow too big too fast to the point that I can’t service my clients,” she explained. “If I have too many open orders, I’m not giving them enough attention.”
It’s that sort of restraint that has allowed Hays to be so successful over the last year. Knowing when not to overextend yourself and recognizing when that is about to happen is as crucial to success as finding opportunities in the first place.
2. Access to capital. The worst thing that could happen when you are in the middle of a staffing boon is that you do not have the working capital in place to take on all those new opportunities.
Start now to secure your funding source, and make sure they can be a long-term partner that will help you grow as much as you desire. If you have a bank loan, find out how difficult it will be to raise your credit line should the need arise. If you are with a factoring company, determine how big you are allowed to grow before their risk tolerance expires or their level of service starts to diminish. Finally, if you are funding yourself, determine whether using your own money is preventing you from growing as big as you want.
3. Having the right team. Growth often requires bringing on new team members. Be sure to define the roles in advance and hire the people most qualified and attuned with company culture.
The key to success is having the right people in the right roles. In a highly competitive industry, people and culture are what set you apart.
Hire with an eye toward someone who not only has experience in recruiting, or whatever role you’re trying to fill, but who could also be comfortable juggling multiple duties as the business continues to grow over the next year.
4. Understanding yourself. Every staffing firm has to draw a line in the sand and declare not only who you are, but perhaps more importantly, who you are not.
Do one thing and do it well. Are you really great at serving one or two verticals? Great, hire people that have experience in those spaces so they can solidify your expertise. Are you really great at customer service? Awesome, develop a training program and invest in solid hiring practices to maintain that edge. The quickest way to lose is to try and be something for everyone.
A Brighter Future
As we emerge from the pandemic into a brighter future ahead, now is the time to make sure your firm has the foundation and plans in place to take full advantage of the expected growth. Everyone wants to be a success, but you’ll have higher achievement over the long haul if you think carefully about the opportunities you’re taking on, your own ability to manage new clients, and if your funding partner can accommodate your growth.
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