So, after a year of trading, a lot has changed.
In the last 12-months, I’ve moved back to London, bought a house, hired an office manager and my first consultant Kayleigh.
We have been white water rafting (not for the faint hearted), had a day of losing our money at Sandown races and celebrated our best ever month in April.
Executive Partnerships, has grown from a pipedream, to a profitable business with a central London office, a loyal following of thousands on social media and a rapidly growing client and candidate base.
After working from my parent’s study for the first three months, it’s safe to say that the novelty of agile working soon wore off! I stayed sane because I am lucky enough to work with some interesting and hugely talented individuals who made finally moving into our office, such a delight!
I knew building a start-up would be hard. I knew it would be slow. I knew I had to do lots of business development to create traction and build something people would want. But, not a day has passed where I haven’t been sure I made the right decision!
“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company founder
What I wish I knew from day one…
#Lack of IT savvy will slow you down
For some reason, the technical era seemed to completely bypass me. The lack of IT support (one would expect in a start-up), meant that I had occasional mornings completely debilitated. Working remotely, when the old “turn off, turn it on” trick just won’t suffice (luckily, I have team members who are much more capable in this area than I). And after much trial and error, slowly but surely, I am learning. Global CTO in the making!!!
#Factor in every cost
To thrive in business, you’ll need to be a spreadsheet hero (or have one on your team). Factor in every cost, and try to account for the unexpected – contingency, contingency, contingency. Do a comprehensive cashflow sheet, and reconcile each month to ensure that things tally up. If the numbers don’t stack up, it may be time to pivot.
#Enjoy the journey
Things move exceptionally quickly when you’re starting out. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and everything has a personal impact. The highs are higher and the lows lower than you are used to. But, as with anything, you learn how to ride the wave again. Don’t forget to savor the small wins. The big wins will come. Pitching for business when all you have to sell is yourself, your knowledge and the service you can provide, can be pretty daunting. No established brand. You’re exposed! However, I have found that now more than ever, clients and candidates are hugely receptive to supporting enterprise and sensibly choosing to partner with the recruiter who has more experience than the competition. Winning business this way is truly exhilarating!
#Hire for attitude, train for skill
When hiring someone new, look for someone who will be a good cultural fit and has the right work ethic. Even if on the face of it, they have the perfect skill set, if you don’t get on with them, it’s not going to work out. Not that it’s at all expected as I believe strongly in working productively in your core hours, but Kayleigh often takes her laptop home and stays late. Her determination and hard work saw her making her first permanent placement in her 6th week – you can’t train this!
What’s happing next?
We’ve established we can do it, and now it’s about looking forward! The plan is to hire a couple more new faces this year for our London team, and start looking into office space to set up a new Manchester location next year. We will continue to expand the team with consultants who have recruitment experience and who we feel can hit the ground running.
As we grow the team to meet increased demand we are looking to move from our current office Victoria HQ, to a bigger space towards the latter part of this year. As we expand and take on more clients and candidates, providing the highest quality service will be our key focus.
Watch this space for more updates over the next few months and please keep in touch. Tim Ferris said in the 4 Hour workweek, “that what we fear doing most is usually the thing we need to do most”. I tend to agree.
A huge thanks to everyone who has helped and supported us over the last 12 months! It’s been a lot of hard work but a whole lot of fun and hugely rewarding. If you like the sound of the agency we’re building at Executive Partnerships, why not work with us? Check out our new website www.executivepartnerships.co.uk or get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a discussion.