Having worked with recruitment agency startups for over 15 years means we really understand how much work goes into getting a business off the ground and how much work goes into a startup business plan. Writing a business plan is often a baffling task, especially if you have never faced it before, and figuring out what to include in a recruitment business plan can get confusing.
We also understand that any help offered is usually gratefully received. There's increasing amounts of assistance being offered to startups and we would love to be able to offer our help to new startups or entrepreneurs, especially recruitment consultants. With this in mind we've put some top tips together to help you on your way, what to include in your business plan and how to approach writing it.
Why Have a Business Plan?
Your business plan is a base from which you can grow your recruitment agency. This is where you ensure you know the product you are bringing to market or the service that you will be offering, how it works, it's every step from the first step onwards. This is what investors will use to decide if they want to invest or not, so it needs to be fairly comprehensive and this doesn't necessarily mean lengthy. Informative and concise it the aim here.
You know your business and often putting all of your knowledge and plans into words can be tricky but assume that those reading this have no idea about your business or the market, they are not the recruitment consultant here, you are, they need you to break it down clearly.
Know it inside out: You might think you know every detail already but you'll get to know every inch of your business plan while writing it, there shouldn't be one point in there that you aren't sure of by the end, forecasting figures isn't always easy or accurate for startups but it should be educated and reasonable. As for everything else, the market positioning, strategy and aims for the recruitment agency should be well thought out and logically and realistically planned.
What to Include in Your Startup Business Plan
Introduce your Business
What is your idea, product or service? Introduce it, what do you do? Include here the problem that it will solve or the gap in the market and how you will fill this gap. The plan needs to portray why this is a good idea, and why customers will be interested in it; the features and benefits of the product.
Your recruitment agency goals really need to plan out where the startup might end up. Where are you heading and what are the core values? Again this is needed to understand your vision of the company, including this section will also mean that going forward you will be able to keep track of how you are progressing toward those goals. Your goals might be financial, staff based, sales based or around customer service, they can range greatly but they are what you aim for going forward and if they are easily measurable, then they're all the easier to track.
Where do you aim to be in X amount of years or even Y? A breakdown of the process from start to finish will show that, as an experienced recruitment consultant, you know your business, the market and the industry well. How many staff will you have and when, how will the product be manufactured and what will be needed when for this to happen?
The plan need not give in depth technical detail but evidence that you are aware of every action that needs to take place with each small step is the aim.
A business plan should be aware of the competition already in the market, of any other startups along similar lines, it should also be able to pinpoint what this startup has that they do not, your USP. Your USP(s) sets you apart from your competition and ensures that you can offer your customers a solution, experience, price or something else that none of your competitors are currently able to offer.
Finance and Budget Forecasting
Everything in your financial section needs to be as accurate as possible and include expenses, overheads, revenue and a forecast for the next 5 years. This may realistically show periods where the recruitment agency is not making money, not uncommon in the beginning, or not making much money, but stick with honesty and fact here.
You have already identified that there is a market out there for your recruitment agency, now identify who this market is. Why is the sector is ready for your startup what benefits will it bring to the industry? Market segmentation and defining your customer base is important to understand those who you are marketing your product to. Include the main demographics that have been identified as your core customer base.
How will you market your startup recruitment agency to the market and your customer base, covered above? Advertising and sales strategy needs to be explained. What will your message be and how will you present yourself as an experienced recruitment professional?
Are you aware of your potential shortcomings? Outside influences can be great risk factors to any business, they can also be blessings but you need to analyse your outside influencers to know how, if and when they could potentially harm your recruitment agency. These factors can be social, economic, political or legal, anything that could alter and change your projections or your industry as a whole are things you need to be aware of and include in your business plan.
However your business plan is going to be used, if you can get it all down at the start then growing your startup business should be a little more straight forward with your own tailored recruitment business plan to follow.