In our business, why can’t we just get the clients we want, as we want them?
Does this sound familiar?
It’s got a lot to do with overcoming overwhelm and having a plan and focus that pushes us beyond our procrastination. Let me explain my story.
Scaling the business to counter this cycle
I used to think this up and down cycle was related to scale. If I could just get the business big enough it would fix the problem. Surely the good performers would counter the poor performers. Sounds logical right?
Owning a recruitment business some years back, I believed that if I added enough consultants, the “engine room” would look after this boom and bust cycle. How wrong I was. It seemed to make them bigger. Higher highs and deeper lows.
I realised the cycle isn’t the problem… unfortunately not till much later, it’s just a symptom.
Driving a business by Emotion
Hope, Passion, Excitement…
I always wanted to help people, it’s what led me to recruitment in the first place. Back in 1993, in the “recession we had to have” (thanks Paul Keating), with unemployment at 7%, I thought getting into recruitment would allow me to help people.
And help people I did. 18 Months later, I was the company’s top recruiter, I was placing more than a job a week, helping businesses and candidates alike and doing well…
In 1999 I opened my own recruitment business. I wanted to help more people and the restraints of the Fortune 500 business I was working for was proving frustrating.
Onward and upward…
I was passionate and had a dream that business shouldn’t be about money, it should help people attain the level of success they desired, whatever that looked like.
I put a team together and we were passionate about helping people. We hoped to do well and were excited to be out of the confines of a corporate structure.
That’s when the cycle started…
We’d work our butts off, work hard and play hard. We’d charge full throttle and get marketing, then get the jobs in and fill them only to find we’d run out of jobs. So then we’d get marketing and get the jobs in… then chase the candidates and fill the jobs…
As things became more competitive, as the roles were contingent (no placement no fee) and we’d be competing with 1-2 other agencies, having candidates ready when you had a job was crucial… Yet, as the list of suppliers kept increasing we found the percentage of jobs placed kept diminishing.
Our excitement started to turn to frustration, sometimes a little despair and even anger. It’s a competitive world.
The competitiveness of the industry highlighted our business immaturity, although we didn’t see it as that.
The First Tipping Point: Survival
We saw a world where some of the competition didn’t play fair.
Where clients just wanted a result.
And ultimately, where they would call the rules.
Fight or flight… the ultimate choice of survival. And fight we did.
We survived… for quite a time.
As time went by we added to the team. We built a reputation and relationships. We’d formed our ‘tribe’ of supporters.
This allowed the business to utilise scale… that would ‘smooth out’ some of the peaks and troughs.
The Second Tipping Point: Gaining Control
It didn’t work… The peaks and troughs just got higher and deeper.
The highs were great!!! Rewards, Winning, Fun, Money… GREAT!
And then the troughs… When things tripped up… Frustration, challenge and danger… Even leading to anger and despair from time to time.
We’d generally manage to bounce back. After all, I was good at motivating the team. Inspiring them to regroup, repair the battle scars and get back into the game.
It’s here that the real battle of business is won.
Not in regrouping, and going through the boom and bust again.
Learning from the previous challenge and developing a strategy to navigate around this happening again.
Back then, I though the boom and bust was the fault of the team, that they didn’t have the motivation. I know now, they had an inspirational leader, one that developed great relationships, yet one that avoided control.
Not control of the people, but control of the situation.
To do that, I needed to implement processes. Not just guidelines that wouldn’t be followed, but processes that would be managed too. For everyone, especially the leader.
Tipping Point Three: Consistency
It’s here that the boom and bust cycle diminishes.
When the business starts to identify with the processes, be known for the processes. Where trust is heightened as predictable results flow.
In recruitment, this is about having processes that attract clients, jobs and candidates working together. It’s a balancing act to ensure that there is a flow of all of the above always happening.
In a service business, it’s about ensuring that you’re always maintaining the discipline of both attracting new business, whilst serving your current clients.
This phase is about respecting yourself and the business enough to place it a priority over any one client (even your biggest client). Because business is about momentum.
Respect, Momentum and a Scorecard
Business is about maintaining the momentum you have. When you start to focus on serving clients only, ignoring your responsibilities to attracting future work, you’ll find the future work dries up and the cycle trips back in.
Busy… Great times… Flat out… Money coming in… Job Finish… Oops, where’s the next… I’ve got to market… Who am I going to call… Panic as the regulars we’ve been ignoring don’t have anything… OMG!!! Oh, wait… Here’s a role, let’s drop everything and look after them… Clients are precious and so I better to everything for the,… Oh, thank good… money… we survived…
And with that, we’re back to survival.
Here’s where having a scorecard can keep you on track.
To create a scorecard, You’ll need to know where you’re going and what you need to get there. In essence, you’ll need a plan. Then you can create a balanced approach to building the business you want and avoid the boom and bust cycle by keeping track that you are on track.
If you’d like a process to build a practical plan and to create a scorecard that keeps you on track. Book to Call me or phone 07 3121 3272 to arrange a suitable time.
Before you do that, ask us to send our Diagnostic tool to help you identify the gaps and get you started today. simply email firstname.lastname@example.org and request your diagnostic today.
If you’d like to organise a 15 minute appraisal of where you and your business is right now and a strategy of how you can smooth the rollercoaster and enjoy the journey to building the business you’ve always wanted, complete the diagnostic, book in a call and then send me your completed diagnostic so we can discuss on the call.
These are just the first three steps of six but more about that next time…