If you're thinking of setting up a recruitment agency, think - START

John Buckman, Chairman of Recruit Ventures Group shares five important tips to consider when starting up a recruitment business...

Over the years I’ve learnt many things about running your own business and here are five key points that you need to consider. – Think START.

Sound financial backing

First up and so essential. To set up without a firm financial footing is a sure way to disaster. You’ll be taking a giant step from a regular pay check to the rigors of cash flow. Initially you’ll need sufficient funding for premises, computers and all the day to day things that make an office work, including furniture! But you need to consider the costs of trading, and have finances in place to allow you to operate until you begin to see real income. Ideally you need to avoid expensive loans and overdrafts, at the same time as being able to draw, even a modest, salary yourself. You’ve got to eat!

Trustworthy systems

This is vital. From the administration of candidate data, to client contracts, and through to the all-important invoicing, you need industry compliant, road tested systems that will allow you to deliver the service you’ve doubtless promised your new and prospective client base. You simply can’t start up without the software and systems that will make your business work.


Always think about your brand. You’ll almost certainly have your own ideas about a company name, and maybe a logo. But, being the best recruitment consultant in the world doesn’t mean you’re a designer or writer. Don’t even think about launching until you’ve had professional help with your logo and strap line. The same applies to your website. And don’t forget, even in the digital age you’ll need printed material including business cards and a ‘leave behind’ brochure. All of that material needs to have a professionally designed and written identity, and it needs to be consistent across everything from your signage to your invoices.

Recruitment experience

Rushing in to a start-up business is pointless unless you know what you’re doing. You’ll need experience of the recruitment sector to start up on your own, which you will have. If you’ve worked, or are working for, a consultancy or agency, think about your career to date. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Use your experience to write your own business plan, drawing on what you’ve seen happen. Focus on areas or sectors that you know well. Build on aspects of service that you think will make you stand out from the competition. We find that, typically, the people we work with have five years overall experience, and around three years running a team or a desk in a specific sector.

The business

Two things are important here. Firstly you need to do your research before you start. What clients do you think you can attract from day one? What geographic area can you sensibly cover? What is the local employment climate like, and who is looking for what sort of candidates, and what sort of jobs?

Secondly, the only way you’ll build a successful business is to concentrate and focus what you do best, which is of course getting in front of people to generate contracts, placements and income. And the only way you’ll be able to give the business total focus is to be free of worrying about bank loans, overdrafts, cash flow, systems and paying the bills. Which is why you need to get all that backing  branding and systems in place before you - START

There are a lot of potential entrepreneurs in the recruitment business, and helping them to develop something of their own, something they truly believe in, is a huge thrill. I now focus my time and experience on helping others in the industry set up on their own and have developed a business model which covers START and provides the backing, support and freedom for recruitment professionals to do it all with minimal risk.  

About the author.

John Buckman is founder and Chairman of Recruit Ventures. John has been successful in the recruitment industry for more than 24 years. He has built a UK recruitment group, from its launch to a national brand. An entrepreneur himself he has experience of chairing and managing several successful businesses.

Comments (0)