Sector diversification is often an obvious move for growing agencies. In fact, professional services advisor BDO revealed a report stating that, with the exception of current markets and international expansion, sector diversification is the most popular growth model for recruitment agencies in 2015. Current desks ticking along nicely? No plans to emigrate? Sector diversification is for your business!
And with good reason. A new market challenge can invigorate consultants, or potentially create a new position within the organisation. Get the diversification model right, and it can be applied time and time again on your route to world domination. Get it wrong, and it could be disastrous. Obviously there are hundreds of things to think about, but here are our “Top 3 Tips”.
1. Branding- Stick or Twist.
One of the first things you need to consider is the pros and cons of using your current company name and branding. The alternative is to rebrand, and take the desk down a new route. A strong brand could be weakened, a weak brand could be improved. The business world is full of examples where both rebranding and not rebranding has been successfully implemented- Virgin and Cif/Jiff spring to mind. As a business owner, only you can decide.
However, most niche recruiters tend to promote their industry knowledge as a USP, branding themselves as specialists in their sector, be it I.T., Engineering or Marketing recruitment. Adding a new sector to your repertoire could weaken your brand, sending mixed messages to clients and candidates alike. Not to mention- going back on your word as a specialist is a PR no-no, and could come back to bite you in a painful place (the wallet, of course) further down the line. If in any doubt, a subtle rebrand can help to protect your current business, while giving you a clean slate in a new sector.
2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your software?
Of course we had to mention it. Even within the world of recruitment software, there are systems that are more suited to temp, and some suited to perm and contract recruitment. Pick the right system, and your recruitment software can be an enabler- facilitating consultant priorities and automating administrative ones. Pick the wrong one and it can be a hindrance- preventing consultants from making quick bookings, emphasising the administrative tasks.
If your world domination plans include crossing the solid lines of recruitment verticals, then make sure your software is up to the task.
3. The skillset of your people
As recruiters, you already know that people (not money) make the world go round, and it is crucial not to forget this maxim when looking at sector diversification. Consider the skills and attributes of your people. Would you want to pull a consultant from a successful desk in order to start over? On the other hand, would you want to pull a slow-burning consultant from a medium size desk and budget for a slower growth model? The final option to consider is bringing in a specialist recruiter, who may already have the necessary contacts to get things off the ground quickly. Don’t think they’ll come cheap though.
Whatever you choose, make sure your decision is based around the human resources available to you. Basing your expansion around people, rather than stats and figures, is one of the best decisions you can make when diversifying into a new sector.