tonyrestell

Tony Restell

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Ex-Strategy Consultant | Founder: Top-Consultant.com and Social-Hire.com| Entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in online recruitment and social media | Head of Social-Hire.com --> Social Media Marketing Agency for the Recruitment industry.

Please feel free to send me your questions any time!

How Effectively Are Your Recruitment Agency Competitors Leveraging Social Media?

Are your competitors reaching passive candidates on Facebook? Could you be generating more client leads with Twitter? How much website traffic are you missing out on by not being more active on social media? If you’re anything like our clients, you’re no doubt eager to make sure your competitors aren’t getting results in ways you’re missing out on. You wouldn't want them to have figured out ways of attracting lots of passive candidates to engage with their agency... or worse still, to have perfected how to use social media to bring new client leads into the business.
 

How Effectively Are Your Recruitment Agency Competitors Leveraging Social Media?


In some sectors there are now clear leaders emerging, in terms of agencies who've mastered getting results from social media. In the majority of sectors this isn't yet the case - and the potential to become that market leader is still very much up for grabs. Your first step in becoming that market leader may well be figuring out just how effectively others in your market are already using social media.

The following type of analysis can be produced within a couple of weeks - with this level of detail, or in far greater depth, depending on how seriously you'd like to understand existing activity in your market (see report commissioning if you can't do this work in-house).

Here's a snapshot of the mid-sized Digital Marketing / Agency recruitment market in London from some analysis we did earlier this year. You'll see there are big differences in the results these agencies are getting from social media - and some agencies who've clearly invested in this more than others (though note that none have built an insurmountable lead).
 

Social Media Activity and Content Sharing in this Niche Market

A quick analysis of where companies are generating shares of their website content is enlightening. The chart below shows that the agencies in this sector have focused more on LinkedIn than anywhere else, with modest activity on Facebook and Twitter.

This finding is really interesting, because recruitment agencies typically generate the most candidate and client interest from Twitter and Facebook, once they’ve experimented with branching out beyond LinkedIn that is. So in this niche, monopolising the market reach offered by social media is still very much up for grabs. To reinforce this point, we would expect a recruitment agency in a social media savvy sector like this to be generating 200+ shares per post if it had invested in some content and had built a half-decent social media presence. Therefore the current performance levels could easily be surpassed within a few months by a recruitment agency investing in having the best presence in the market.

 

Digital Marketing Recruitment Agencies - Social Media Content Sharing Analysis


There’s the potential for one or more competitors in this market to rapidly improve the results being generated from Twitter. We can see from the following pie chart that some of the agencies in this market have already invested in a Twitter presence and built a decent following. Both Blu Digital and 3Search could drive significant web traffic from Twitter with the right content strategy and tactics to leverage this existing Twitter audience.
 

Twitter Follower Count as of September 2016

Digital Marketing Recruitment - Twitter Follower Count

The picture is markedly different when we look at Facebook, where we can see that only Gemini People have invested in growing an audience there - though some agencies may be advertising “below the radar” on Facebook.
 

Facebook Fan Count as of September 2016

Digital Marketing Recruitment Facebook Fan Count


Getting Business Results From Social Media

The two elements of social media activity that really generate results for recruitment agencies are engagement and social sharing. If we start with social sharing first, the huge power of social media is to have your brand and its content made visible to an audience that extends way beyond the candidates and clients who already know and interact with your business.

A good benchmark here is that a company reaches an audience that is at least 10 times as big as its own fan or follower count. So for example, each Social-Hire account with 50,000+ followers we would usually see reaching an audience of 500,000 to 1 million people a month.

No one in this market is anywhere close to achieving this viral reach effect, so the opportunity to become the market leader is very much there for the taking.

Alongside social sharing, engagement is also key. If lots of people are engaging with your social media updates, they are far more likely to respond when you put an advert or a request for help in front of them. Plus each and every time someone engages with your company in some way on social media, that creates the window of opportunity to start a conversation with them - particularly key if you want to generate client leads or want to build rapport with passive candidates.

Data for Twitter and Facebook below shows the varying levels of social sharing and engagement that the competitors in this niche market have achieved over the preceding weeks. There’s considerable room for improvement with all these accounts, with none of them having mastered influencer marketing for example.
 

Digital Marketing / Agency Facebook Activity


Digital Marketing Recruitment - Facebook Activity
 

Digital Marketing / Agency Twitter Activity


Digital Marketing Recruitment Twitter Activity


Next Steps - How To Seize The Opportunity

Having established that there's no recruitment agency that's built up an insurmountable lead, the question is then how could an agency develop a dominant position in this area? Becoming the market leader in candidate and client attraction will mean addressing or mastering 4 key steps:

  1. Clearly defining the target audience your company wishes to appeal to - and the actions you would want your audience to take over the coming year to make them valuable for your business.
     
  2. Writing profiles and developing a content strategy that will make your company profiles appealing to your target audience to follow and interact with.
     
  3. Proactively ensuring your company profiles are seen by as many candidates / clients / influencers in your market as possible.
     
  4. Experimenting with engagement and conversion tactics to ensure that your growing social media audience turns into a flow of candidates you can place (or new client enquiries you can act upon).


I hope this has inspired you to investigate your own niche market - and given you a good steer on how you would then dominate social media at the expense of your recruitment agency competitors. If you need some help with this, see below. Good luck!
 

Doing a good job of this will require having a marketing expert whose time is at least 50% devoted to social media activities, or an admin person working on this more or less full time. You’re welcome to book in for a social media consultation (£149 + Vat) to work through these four steps with us if you’re going to attempt to do this work in-house. Or for a more comprehensive assessment you could commission a 20 page report on your market, complete with our recommended strategies and an hour’s consultation to talk through our in-depth findings (£699 + Vat).

Alternatively, the most cost-effective option that's also likely to generate the most compelling results is to outsource your social media activities to Social-Hire (max. £899 + Vat per month, a tiny fraction of what it costs to employ someone to do this). If you’d like to talk through this option, simply book in for a convenient call time. Our testimonials say all that needs to be said about the effectiveness of this approach - see here.

 

How To Determine The Social Media Budget Your SME Business Needs

One of the hardest things for a small business deciding whether to invest in social media, is actually figuring out the size of budget that you need to give yourself a good shot at success. Of course, as a business owner or manager, you'd love to be generating client leads from social media... or driving paying customers to your website... or attracting future hires to apply for openings at your business. But at what cost?
 

Social Media Budget for SMEs


Why SME Businesses Fail on Social Media

If I think of the most common reasons that small businesses fail on social media, it invariably comes down to having underestimated what it takes to be successful. Business owners sometimes mistakenly believe that results can be generated simply by putting staff to work on their social strategy when those team members have the odd spare hour each week. That might be enough to make your business look active on social media, but it's far from enough to actually do everything that's needed to bring in real business results. So read on if you are looking to get tangible business results from social media rather than just having a token presence.

Now I have a lot of fun each year conducting social media seminars for small business owners. During these sessions, we work through everything that's needed to be successful on social media - in terms of perfecting your social media strategy, tactics and day-to-day workflows. During these sessions I’ll invariably ask business owners to estimate how much time and resource they think would be needed to do all the things we've identified as being essential to their success during the course of the seminar. It's something that I also find myself discussing on our paid social media consultations.


The Resources SMEs Need To Succeed

You’re probably wondering what their consensus view typically is? Having spent a day immersed in understanding what their business needs to do to succeed, these owners and managers typically conclude that a social media expert working at least 50% part-time in their business is essential for success. Or failing that, a full-time member of staff who does not have the same degree of social media expertise would be needed. That's quite a substantial investment for a small business to make - and a commitment that often comes as an eye-opener to those who’d assumed results could be generated with far less effort. I’d go as far as to say that failing to appreciate that this is the scale of investment needed is one of the single biggest reasons that small businesses fail to get tangible business results from social media.

This is course is only the beginning. The person charged with implementing your social media strategy is going to need paid subscriptions to some key social media tools in order to be effective. They’ll probably also need some budget to run social media promotions and experiments. None of these things tend to be factored in when small businesses are deciding whether or not to embark on a drive to get results from social media.
 

Do You Have The Budget Needed To Succeed?

So to help you in determining whether you are ready to invest in social media, I would start by thinking about your budget. If you genuinely cannot find $15,000 to $20,000 per year to invest in having a strong social media presence, then it is simply not realistic to expect that your foray into social media will bring your SME significant business results. To be clear, that's likely to be the cost of working with external experts or agencies specialising in social media. If you want to develop and implement your strategy in-house, the chances are that the cost will be greater still. Think how much it costs per annum to employ even one person part-time and you can easily see that this would be the case. That's why for many small businesses, going down the route of partnering with an external agency is often the most cost-effective way of launching your social media presence and starting to generate business results from social media.

Of course, businesses can often find budget if ROI can be proven for a particular investment. This is certainly also true of social media - and once you have started to generate business results, it may well be possible to justify a far higher spend given the results that you are seeing. Unfortunately, in our experience, many small businesses never reach the stage of generating compelling results from social media, because they have simply not invested enough at the outset to ever give themselves a realistic chance of success.


Concluding Remarks

I hope that this overview will allow you to assess whether your business is really ready to invest in social media just yet. If the levels of spend detailed here are really more than your business can currently stretch to, my advice would be to rethink whether you will invest in social media at all at this time.

Results on social media often scale significantly, meaning that the more you do on social media, the more you will see your results rocket. But correspondingly that also means that if you only invest a fraction of what’s needed to generate results on social media, the results you are likely to see will most probably be extremely disappointing and will make you question whether social media works at all in your particular niche market. The reality is likely to be that with more substantial investment a serious return could have been achieved, but you’ve sabotaged your efforts from the outset by failing to invest significantly enough. Hopefully these insights have given you the information you need to fight for the budget that's required - or to have the courage to pull the plug on what would've been a half-hearted foray into social media. Good luck.

 

Small Business Marketing - How To Generate Leads Using Social Media?

One key element of making social media work for your small business is proving the ROI. Once you can see that investing X hours or Y budget in social media is producing new leads for the business (or driving online sales), it isn't difficult to then justify increasing that budget or maintaining that presence.
 

Social Media Lead Generation


The challenge for most small businesses is actually figuring out how to get to that point. How can you put social media to work in your business in a way that it does consistently drive new leads or sales for the business?

I was delighted to be asked just recently to present on this topic. My hosts were Capability Jane Recruitment, who specialise in finding part-time talent to join fast-growing SME businesses - so the perfect audience to pick up these ideas and run with them.

The full recording of this session is provided below. In it you'll learn the impact social media can have on your business, how to develop your social media presence for maximum commercial impact... and many of the reasons you may have failed to generate business results to date. 


Should you need help figuring out how to put these ideas into practice in your SME business, you're very welcome to ask a question on twitter via @tonyrestell - or to book in straight away for a 1 hour consultation with one of our team.

 

How To Smash LinkedIn InMail Response Rates

This last week I was thrilled to be joined by recruiting expert Billy McDiarmid for our regular Q&A session for recruiters. The purpose of these calls is to address whatever digital marketing / social media / candidate challenges you're facing, hopefully with answers that you can take away and implement in your recruiting team right away (and for little or no spend).

We kicked this session off - as we do with all our guest speaker sessions - by asking if there's anything in particular that our speaker would like to share with attendees. Billy really hit it out of the park this week, with a look at tactics he's been using to find and approach candidates - with response rates that a LinkedIn InMail user could only dream of.

LinkedIn InMail Response Rates

I also shared an example of how your social media presence can be transformed into a candidate attraction or client generation lead funnel, using the right tools and processes - and a focus on constantly A/B testing your elements to produce maximum success.

The full recording of the session is below. Any follow-up questions or feedback, do feel free to reach out to @billymcdiarmid and @tonyrestell.

Recording: How To Smash LinkedIn InMail Response Rates (and more...)


See you on the next live Q&A!

 

A Beginner's Guide to Content Marketing

If implemented correctly, content marketing can have a significant impact on your business. You’ll be able to use it to attract a swarm of customers, your ideal prospects or future hires direct to your website. But there are several steps that need to be followed if you are to achieve this type of success with content marketing.

Content Marketing - a beginner's guide


Content Marketing - What’s Your End Goal?

The first key step is to begin with the end goal in mind. What I mean by this is that we must have it clearly defined from the outset the types of people we want to attract to our business - and to have worked through ultimately what we would like those people to have done? This is absolutely crucial and is one of the most common mistakes that I see businesses making today, be that small businesses looking to attract customers… or recruitment teams eager to attract potential hires. From the outset, we need to have a detailed persona in mind - we need to have defined the types of people we wish to attract to our website, and the more detailed this persona is the better.

When we are thinking about our ideal target audience, this should include things like the types of content they are most interested in, the websites and publications they are most likely to read, the social media that they are most likely to use and any other information that will help us to target them and appeal to them as much as possible. Too often I see businesses deciding that they need to have a blog and some regular content going onto their website, without having thought these things through. This is a huge mistake. Generating content for content’s sake produces minimal ROI. Instead, we have to be doing this in a structured manner so that we are attracting people who will ultimately go on to become valuable prospects, customers or hires for the business.


Work Through Your Content Marketing Conversion Steps

The next thing we need to do is to work backwards from our desired end outcome, to figure out the type of content that we need to produce and to think through how a reader of that content is going to ultimately become a prospect, customer or hire of the business. Keep in mind that very few people buy from a company or apply to a company on their very first visit to their website. Rather, it usually takes multiple touchpoints for people to reach the stage where they are ready to buy from your or apply to work with you.

Consequently, your primary goal with content marketing should be to have someone sign up or subscribe to receive ongoing updates from your business. This might mean getting them to follow you on social media, it might mean signing people up for an email alert or requesting to have special offers sent to them in the future. Acknowledging that this is the case is crucial, because otherwise you will set out to achieve an immediate sale or application from people reading your content, when that is not necessarily a realistic outcome you can expect to achieve. In other words, you’d be setting yourself up for failure with your content marketing.

If the first thing we wish to achieve is signing someone up to receive ongoing updates, the medium-term action we would like to prompt is that the person applies for jobs or requests a demo or buys something online from us. This will most probably be prompted with a call-to-action directly in your social media updates or in your email alerts. But it can also be triggered by the right calls-to-action in your website content itself. So you will definitely want to experiment with adding calls-to-action to your content and figuring out different ways that your website could convert a visitor into a more valuable customer or candidate applicant. With the right tracking in place (eg. by using Google Analytics), you’ll be able to monitor the effectiveness and conversion rates of different approaches on your site - and ultimately refine things so that you are always implementing the most effective approaches in your latest content marketing posts.


Posting The Right Content, Consistently

Having figured out how your website will convert a Blog reader into someone more valuable to the business, the next thing we want to do is figure out a content calendar that will attract the ideal people to our site. This may or may not be a very detailed content calendar, but two things are key. Firstly, we need to set a tempo of publishing that is sustainable for our team. There is nothing worse than seeing a business blog twice a week, then lose momentum and subsequently end up only publishing once every two months. It is much better to be realistic from the outset and to set a frequency of posting that is going to be sustainable with the resources you have available in your team.

Consistency of posting gets readers used to seeing your updates on a regular basis and gets them into the habit of looking out for your next post and reading this and sharing it with their followers. Having figured out the right frequency of posting, just as important is researching topics that will really resonate with your target audience and that ideally will be shared extensively by them with their extended networks of contacts.

There are many tools out there that can help with determining the right content to write, our favourite amongst them is BuzzSumo. With this tool, you can research different topics and see which articles have been being shared the most - and on which social media sites. This is absolutely key. We want to write content that will attract the interest of our ideal prospects or hires. What's more, we want to write content that stands the greatest possible chance of being shared with people’s extended networks. To achieve this, we need to be writing content that will be shared on the social networks where our prospects are most active. So we're not just interested in which types of content have been shared the most on social media, we are interested in which types of content have been shared the most on the particular social media where our ideal prospects are most active. Those two things are not necessarily the same.


Too Much Writing, Not Enough Promoting

A major failing that I see amongst businesses trying to leverage content marketing, is an over-emphasis on producing content and a corresponding under-investment in promoting each of those pieces of content. Most businesses you will find generate a disappointing volume of social shares and web traffic for each post that they produce. They are doing most of the work of a successful content marketer, but not reaping anything like the full rewards.

If you are investing in content marketing, it is also essential that you invest in your social media presence so that you are able to trigger mass sharing of your new content. You should ideally also have a budget available to promote each of those new pieces of content. This will enable you to reach an ever wider audience of people via other channels such as Outbrain, StumbleUpon, Sponsored Posts and the like.

If you get all of this right in your business, the chances are you will start to see thousands and thousands of new web visitors coming to your site - initially each month... and then each week... and eventually each day! If you have succeeded in optimising your website such that it converts these visitors into more valuable prospects for your business, you have turned content marketing into a very valuable lead stream or candidate attraction stream for your business. Good luck.

 

How To Pick The Right Social Media Marketing Agency

The business has taken the decision - you're going to invest in engaging a social media agency. Maybe because you don’t have the resources in-house to develop a social media presence. Maybe you need the social media expertise that an external social media agency can bring in order to feel confident of getting business results. Or maybe you've determined that this route is the lowest cost option for testing the waters and seeing how social media can contribute to your business.

Whatever your reasons, you now need to choose which social media agency to engage. So how should you decide?

Choosing a Social Media Marketing Agency


The following would be my list of recommended decision criteria if someone in my network asked me to help them choose the right social media agency for their business. Hopefully they can help you in making the right choice too; and a disclosure - as the owner of a social media agency, this list is clearly influenced by our experiences of working with clients! 

Is Their Social Media Presence Impressive?

Those of you who’ve had much exposure to internet marketing will no doubt have been approached countless times by SEO agencies, claiming they can get your business to page 1 of key Google search result pages. My first reaction is always to check how the SEO agency's own website ranks on Google. After all, if they can’t get tremendous results for their own website then what prospect is there that they’ll be able to get great results for mine?

The same logic applies to your choice of social media agency.

If you look at our social media presence you’ll see that we are very prominent in our space. We have built significant audiences on social media, generate lots of interaction from an engaged fan base and have people sharing content from our site and recommending us on social media every few minutes, 365 days a year. Talk to us and you’ll also discover that we generate most of our client leads via social media. Without even seeing our client work or testimonials you can tell that we’re an agency that knows how to get results on social media.

Unfortunately there are lots of cowboy outfits in the social media space, just as there are in the SEO world. I am amazed every day when I come across social media agencies that showcase themselves to the world with a terrible social media presence of their own. Worse still, I’m amazed when they approach us on social media to see if we’d like to engage them to help with our social media presence (yes that does happen - and should tell you everything you need to know about the quality of their work!).

Of course it’s true that everyone has to start somewhere - and so there will be some genuinely good agencies who have yet to build a strong social presence of their own. But if an agency has been on social media for more than a few months and doesn’t have a good presence, that should set off alarm bells. Any business that’s just starting out should only be trusted if you can see that the Founders have previously worked in a social media role and so can bring some expertise to your business. Without this track record or previous experience, you’re unfortunately likely to be spending your budget on agencies who may be enthusiastic, but are only at the stage of trying to learn how to get results on social media - which they’ll be doing at your expense.

Does The Agency Serve Your Niche?

My second decision factor would be whether the agency has a specialist focus or track record of working with businesses like yours? The challenges of working for a small business are totally different than those of working for a major brand for example. How you attract candidates differs from how you generate client leads on social media; and they in turn are both different from using social media as a customer service tool.

You need to be engaging the services of a social media agency that’s experienced in serving your type of business to achieve the type of results you want to achieve on social media. Otherwise the agency will again be learning how to get results at your expense. Do turn to us for help with attracting candidates or generating client leads, for example, but don't turn to us for help in using social media for customer service. 

Similarly you may want to look for an agency that has a track record of working in your particular niche industry - or at least in other industries that face similar challenges. Running targeted social media advertising campaigns to drive online sales is a totally different skill than engaging with potential prospects on social media and generating client leads for your sales team to follow up with. Doing that in the real estate sector isn’t the same as doing it in the accounting industry. Does the agency you’re talking to have some relevant experience they can bring to the table? Be sure to find out.

Does The Social Media Agency Have Belief In Their Abilities?

In any sector I’m wary of businesses that seek to tie customers into long-term contracts. Of course in some industries there are significant up front costs that mean a business has to see some commitment from a client to be able to start working with them. In social media I would challenge that that’s not the case.

It’s reasonable that an agency will need an initial period (say 3-6 months) to get your accounts up and running and to start to show the results they are generating. So a modest up front commitment I can accept as being necessary. But beyond that, a social media agency should be willing to live or die based on the results they are generating. Look for agencies that offer a rolling monthly contract - where you can walk away each month without penalty. A business offering those terms is more likely to have confidence in their ability to deliver - and is reducing your risk in working with them in the first place.

Also check with them what their average client duration is right now. If clients are typically working with the business for years - when they have the option of leaving every month - then that tells you a great deal about the client satisfaction that that agency delivers. If clients are only staying for months then that’s a cause for concern...

I hope the above has been helpful to you in deciding how to pick and choose the right social media agency for your business. Good luck - and great that you’re looking to invest in your social media presence.

 

Digital Marketing Recruitment Agencies in London

Are your competitors reaching passive candidates on Facebook? Could you be generating more client leads with Twitter? How much website traffic are you missing out on by not being more active on social media? If you’re anything like our clients, you’re no doubt eager to make sure your competitors aren’t getting results in ways you’re missing out on. As part of our ongoing market research, we produced a snapshot of the mid-sized Digital Marketing Recruitment Agency market in London. The companies we looked at were:
 

3Search3Search


AdaptiveAdaptive
 

Blu DigitalBlu Digital
 

The Digital Recruitment CompanyThe Digital Recruitment Company
 

DNA RecruitDNA Recruit
 

Gemini PeopleGemini People

 

Note: These are the companies that appeared in LinkedIn search results when we looked for mid-sized recruitment agencies specialising in the digital marketing sector in London. Additional competitors are no doubt out there, this was just the list we used to assess social media activity within this niche market.
 

Social Media Activity and Content Sharing in the Digital Marketing Recruitment Agency market

A quick analysis of where these companies are generating shares of their website content is enlightening. The chart below shows that the agencies in your sector have focused more on LinkedIn than anywhere else, with modest activity on Facebook and Twitter.

This finding is really interesting, because recruitment agencies typically generate the most candidate and client interest from Twitter and Facebook, once they’ve experimented with branching out beyond LinkedIn that is. So in your niche, monopolising the market reach offered by social media is still very much up for grabs. To reinforce this point, we would expect a recruitment agency in your sector to be generating 200+ shares per post if it had invested in some content and had built a half-decent social media presence. Therefore the current performance levels could easily be surpassed within a few months by a recruitment agency investing in having the best presence in the market.

 

Digital Marketing Recruitment Agencies - Social Media Content Sharing Analysis


There’s the potential for one or more competitors in this market to rapidly improve the results being generated from Twitter. We can see from the following pie chart that some of the agencies in this market have already invested in a Twitter presence and built a decent following. Both Blu Digital and 3Search could drive significant web traffic from Twitter with the right content strategy and tactics to leverage this existing Twitter audience.
 

Twitter Follower Count as of September 2016

Digital Marketing Recruitment - Twitter Follower Count

The picture is markedly different when we look at Facebook, where we can see that only Gemini People have invested in growing an audience there - though some agencies may be advertising “below the radar” on Facebook.
 

Facebook Fan Count as of September 2016

Digital Marketing Recruitment Facebook Fan Count


Getting Business Results From Social Media

The two elements of social media activity that really generate results for recruitment agencies are engagement and social sharing. If we start with social sharing first, the huge power of social media is to have your brand and its content made visible to an audience that extends way beyond the candidates and clients who already know and interact with your business.

A good benchmark here is that a company reaches an audience that is at least 10 times as big as its own fan or follower count. So for example, each Social-Hire account with 50,000+ followers we would usually see reaching an audience of 500,000 to 1 million people a month.

No one in your market is anywhere close to achieving this viral reach effect, so the opportunity to become the market leader is very much there for the taking.

Alongside social sharing, engagement is also key. If lots of people are engaging with your social media updates, they are far more likely to respond when you put an advert or a request for help in front of them. Plus each and every time someone engages with your company in some way on social media, that creates the window of opportunity to start a conversation with them - particularly key if you want to generate client leads or want to build rapport with passive candidates.

Data for Twitter and Facebook below shows the varying levels of social sharing and engagement that you and your competitors have achieved over the preceding weeks. There’s considerable room for improvement with all these accounts, with none of them having mastered influencer marketing for example.
 

Digital Marketing Recruitment Facebook Activity


Digital Marketing Recruitment - Facebook Activity
 

Digital Marketing Recruitment Twitter Activity


Digital Marketing Recruitment Twitter Activity


Next Steps - How To Seize The Opportunity

Becoming the market leader in candidate and client attraction will mean addressing or mastering 4 key steps:

  1. Clearly defining the target audience your company wishes to appeal to - and the actions you would want your audience to take over the coming year to make them valuable for your business.
     
  2. Writing profiles and developing a content strategy that will make your company profiles appealing to your target audience to follow and interact with.
     
  3. Proactively ensuring your company profiles are seen by as many candidates / clients / influencers in your market as possible.
     
  4. Experimenting with engagement and conversion tactics to ensure that your growing social media audience turns into a flow of candidates you can place (or new client enquiries you can act upon).


Doing this well will require having a marketing expert whose time is at least 50% devoted to social media activities. You’re welcome to book in for a social media consultation (£149 + Vat) to work through these four steps with us if you’re going to attempt to do this work in-house. Or for a more comprehensive assessment you could commission a 20 page report on your market, complete with our recommended strategies and an hour’s consultation to talk through our in-depth findings (£699 + Vat).

Alternatively, the most cost-effective option that's also likely to generate the most compelling results is to outsource your social media activities to Social-Hire (max. £899 + Vat per month, a tiny fraction of what it costs to employ someone to do this). If you’d like to talk through this option, simply book in for a convenient call time. Our testimonials (below) say all that needs to be said about the effectiveness of this approach.

Nursing Recruitment Agencies in London

Are your competitors reaching passive candidates on Facebook? Could you be generating more client leads with Twitter? How much website traffic are you missing out on by not being more active on social media? If you’re anything like our clients, you’re no doubt eager to make sure your competitors aren’t getting results in ways you’re missing out on. As part of our ongoing market research, we produced a snapshot of the mid-sized Nursing Recruitment Agency market in London. The companies we looked at were:
 

Caritas RecruitmentCaritas Recruitment


Delta Nursing AgencyDelta Nursing Agency
 

Geneva Health UKGeneva Health UK
 

HCL NursingHCL Nursing
 

TFS HealthcardTFS Healthcare
 

Your World HealthcareYour World Healthcare

 

Note: These are the companies that appeared in LinkedIn search results when we looked for mid-sized recruitment agencies specialising in the nursing sector in London. Additional competitors are no doubt out there, this was just the list we used to assess social media activity within this niche market.
 

Social Media Activity and Content Sharing in the Nursing Recruitment Agency market

A quick analysis of where these companies are generating shares of their website content is enlightening. The chart below shows that the agencies in your sector have focused more on LinkedIn than anywhere else, with modest activity on Facebook and hardly any on Twitter.

This finding is really interesting, because recruitment agencies typically generate the most candidate and client interest from Twitter and Facebook, once they’ve experimented with branching out beyond LinkedIn that is. So in your niche, monopolising the market reach offered by social media is still very much up for grabs. To reinforce this point, we would expect a recruitment agency to be generating 50-100 shares per post if it had invested in some content and had built a half-decent social media presence. Therefore the current performance levels could easily be surpassed within a few months by a recruitment agency investing in having the best presence in the market.

 

Nursing Recruitment Agencies - Social Media Content Sharing Analysis


That your competitors haven’t invested in a Twitter presence is clear from the following pie chart. Whilst Your World Healthcare has clearly invested more in growing its presence than anyone else, none of these agencies really has a significant presence on Twitter.
 

Twitter Follower Count as of August 2016

Nursing Recruitment - Twitter Follower Count

The picture is slightly different when we look at Facebook, where we can see that Your World Healthcare have invested in growing an audience there and HCL Nursing too to a lesser degree.
 

Facebook Fan Count as of August 2016

Nursing Recruitment Facebook Fan Count


Getting Business Results From Social Media

The two elements of social media activity that really generate results for recruitment agencies are engagement and social sharing. If we start with social sharing first, the huge power of social media is to have your brand and its content made visible to an audience that extends way beyond the candidates and clients who already know and interact with your business.

A good benchmark here is that a company reaches an audience that is at least 10 times as big as its own fan or follower count. So for example, each Social-Hire account with 50,000+ followers we would usually see reaching an audience of 500,000 to 1 million people a month.

No one in your market is anywhere close to achieving this viral reach effect, so the opportunity to become the market leader is very much there for the taking.

Alongside social sharing, engagement is also key. If lots of people are engaging with your social media updates, they are far more likely to respond when you put an advert or a request for help in front of them. Plus each and every time someone engages with your company in some way on social media, that creates the window of opportunity to start a conversation with them - particularly key if you want to generate client leads or want to build rapport with passive candidates.

Data for Twitter and Facebook below shows the varying levels of social sharing and engagement that you and your competitors have achieved over the preceding fortnight. There’s considerable room for improvement with all these accounts.
 

Nursing Recruitment Facebook Activity


Nursing Recruitment - Facebook Activity
 

Nursing Recruitment Twitter Activity


Nursing Recruitment Twitter Activity


Next Steps - How To Seize The Opportunity

Becoming the market leader in candidate and client attraction will mean addressing or mastering 4 key steps:

  1. Clearly defining the target audience your company wishes to appeal to - and the actions you would want your audience to take over the coming year to make them valuable for your business.
     
  2. Writing profiles and developing a content strategy that will make your company profiles appealing to your target audience to follow and interact with.
     
  3. Proactively ensuring your company profiles are seen by as many candidates / clients / influencers in your market as possible.
     
  4. Experimenting with engagement and conversion tactics to ensure that your growing social media audience turns into a flow of candidates you can place (or new client enquiries you can act upon).


Doing this well will require having a marketing expert whose time is at least 50% devoted to social media activities. You’re welcome to book in for a social media consultation (£149 + Vat) to work through these four steps with us if you’re going to attempt to do this work in-house. Or for a more comprehensive assessment you could commission a 20 page report on your market, complete with our recommended strategies and an hour’s consultation to talk through our in-depth findings (£699 + Vat).

Alternatively, the most cost-effective option that's also likely to generate the most compelling results is to outsource your social media activities to Social-Hire (max. £899 + Vat per month, a tiny fraction of what it costs to employ someone to do this). If you’d like to talk through this option, simply book in for a convenient call time. Our testimonials (below) say all that needs to be said about the effectiveness of this approach.

Revealed: Social Recruiting Success Principles [Jobvite Webinar Recording]

Is boosting your company's Social Recruiting effectiveness high on your priority list for the coming months? If so, you're probably wondering how you can:

  • Implement a social media strategy that boosts your brand’s reach and engages potential hires
  • Attract and convert the right audience from social media followers to applicants
  • Identify any gaps that are preventing your social media from pulling in great candidates


Jobvite Social Recruiting webinar

 


On a recent Jobvite webinar I had the chance to address these social recruiting conundrums and more, drawing on the insights we gain in our social media agency from working on hundreds of clients' social media accounts each month. The full recording is shared below, including a lively Q&A session in which all the audience's most pressing social media / recruiting challenges and frustrations were addressed.

Additional topics covered included:

  • Tools to streamline content finding and scheduling on social media - and whether it's wise to automate?
  • The best content to share on LinkedIn
  • How to entice candidates to apply to your jobs WITHOUT publishing a constant stream of vacancies on your social media accounts
  • Deciding which social media sites to build a presence on, as a function of whether they have the right demographics and whether you can produce the desired outcomes from those sites


Jobvite Webinar Recording - Social Recruiting Success Principles

 

If you've any follow-on questions I can help with, feel free to comment below or tweet me on @tonyrestell

 

Jeff Herzog - Your Job Search is a Bare Knuckle Fight

If you are looking to accelerate your job search, these are the insights you really need to transform the results you're getting. We were thrilled to be joined this week by Jeff Herzog, who shared with us many winning tactics for today's jobs market. The author of Your Job Search is a Bare Knuckle Fight, Jeff gave us the hard facts and harsh realities about what it takes to really succeed in today's jobs market. Feedback from the attendees was outstanding - and you can find the full recording of this briefing below.
 

Your Job Search is a Bare Knuckle Fight


Jeff explored a variety of issues that can hamper your job search efforts - and stressed the activities you need to focus on to succeed. Topics covered included:

  • Why the advice you're getting may be too soft
  • Why the road to your next job could bypass HR
  • How to use the Internet as a tool - not a crutch
  • Accepting the fact that getting a new job is a "sales job"
  • When Networking is "Notworking"
  • Why you should not apply online


Job Search Advice from Jeff Herzog [Recording]

I'm sure you'll find this extremely valuable - and thanks again to Jeff for giving his time so freely. The attendees were hugely appreciative of his insights and I'm sure you will be too. Outstanding advice.

"Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with everyone - tons of useful information - specifically on using the phone, contacting the hiring manager and tips on interviewing"

If Jeff can help you or your business, you can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter @FPCofNYC. For now, all the best in accelerating the results you're getting from your job search efforts.

 

Job Board Marketing - How To Drive Interest To Your Website

Whether you're running a job board or a recruitment agency business, knowing how to market them effectively is both critical and an ever-evolving challenge. That's why I was thrilled to welcome job board entrepreneur Keith Potts to lead a presentation on this topic, the full recording of which is shared below.
 

Job Board Marketing


Many in our industry will know Keith as the Founder of Jobsite, one of the world's most successful job board businesses. More recently he's built a job board technology platform that allows job boards, recruitment businesses and publishing companies to leverage best in class technologies to grow their own businesses (see: Talenetic.com). So he's one of the most highly regarded and well informed experts in this space and we're delighted to be able to share some of his knowledge with you.

Keith was joined by Lindsay Stanton of Digi-Me to tackle the role video has in marketing job ads more effectively; whilst I tackled the use of social media to attract client and candidate interest. This was in addition to the topics of Google SEO, landing page construction, website optimisation and A/B testing, jobs-by-email signup and a host of other highly relevant topics covered both during the presentation itself and the subsequent Q&A session. I'm sure you'll learn a lot from the recording below - and if you do, please do share with your contacts on social media using the sharing buttons provided. 

Job Board Marketing with Keith Potts
 


Thanks to both Keith and Lindsay for giving so freely of their time and insights. 

 

Andy Headworth - 5 Insights Gained Whilst Writing Social Media Recruitment

Andy Headworth - Social Media Recruitment


This last week I was thrilled to be joined by Andy Headworth, author of Social Media Recruitment, for a live Q&A session in which we fielded many of your most pressing social recruiting questions. If you missed it - and the wealth of insights and case examples that Andy shared - you'll find the recording below.
 


The session began with Andy sharing 5 insights he gained from writing his best-seller Social Media Recruitment. This included some really innovative examples of ways Recruiters have used new social angles to recruit - my personal favourite being the bespoke Spotify playlists to woo potential new hires! Thereafter we moved on to fielding your questions and addressing the challenges you've been facing in using social media to recruit.

If you've any follow-on questions or observations, feel free to comment below or to reach out to us on @andyheadworth and @tonyrestell

 

The 5 Habits Of Highly Successful Social Media Managers

Getting results on social media is my bread and butter - and a quirk of my job is that I probably come into contact with more social media managers than just about anyone else! So what are the things I see the most successful social media managers consistently doing?

Social Media Manager - Success Habits

Of course you can't talk about success without knowing what it is that the social media manager has been tasked with achieving for the business. Which brings me to the first of my 5 habits of highly successful social media managers...


Successful Social Media Managers Have a Clearly Defined Objective

"If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there!" - has to be one of my favourite sayings. The polar opposite is the situation you want to be in as a social media manager. You will want to be able to demonstrate your contribution to the business - both for your own job security and for your future promotion prospects. To do that, you want to have clearly defined objectives agreed with the business. Consider for a minute:

  • Generating client leads on social media
  • Securing invitations for your leadership team to speak at key industry events and be published in key industry publications
  • Attracting potential hires to your business
  • Driving your online sales
  • Boosting the conversion results of all your other marketing activities


Any one of these would be a valid objective you might be asked to achieve - and each of them has a value that the business can readily appreciate (as opposed to simply a growth in your follower count or reach). Knowing which of these you are striving to achieve means you can finesse where you invest your time and A/B test approaches to achieve the maximum results for the business. This is what ensures that - come year-end time - you can justify the investment the business has made in social media and even seek to have additional budget allocated to your projects.


Successful Social Media Managers Focus Their Efforts

There's a pressure and a danger within business to feel that you have to develop your company's presence on every major new social platform to hit the scene. This is particularly true if you don't have clearly defined objectives to hit. The most savvy social media managers I've encountered know that they achieve their best results when they master and dominate a handful of social media channels, rather than having a patchier presence on - and understanding of - every social site out there.

If you think of your own social media streams and group activities, you can probably think of a handful of people and businesses who consistently appear on your radar, day after day. These are the people who are commanding a disproportionate share of their audience's attention and who are most likely to be deriving real business results from social media. Be like them and focus your efforts on whichever sites are bringing you the most consistent and the most scaleable results.


Successful Social Media Managers Infuse Personality Into Their Posts

Social Media is at it's most powerful when it's prompting people to have conversations and take actions. Most businesses view it as a means of broadcasting about their services and latest offers - and whilst paid advertising provides a channel for doing this very effectively, on your social streams it's personality that will win people over and spark conversations.

If you've ever spent any time in sales, you'll know that the very best salespeople aren't those who push the sale the hardest. Rather, it's the salespeople who focus on building trust and rapport with people who tend to bring in the strongest results. The same is true on social media. Have your social media infused with your personality - and the personalities of others in the business - and you'll be well on the way to getting far more compelling business results from social media.


Successful Social Media Managers Are Always Learning and Testing

Social media is awash with data - and the most successful managers are often those who take this data and learn from it. They test whether changes to their profile pages increase follow rates. They test ways of getting their profiles seen by more and more of their target audience. They test whether sharing different types of content produces more engagement and therefore opportunities to have conversations with prospects. They test approaches that entice people engaging with you to take the desired next step to fulfilling your business objectives.

Analysing data and learning from it is therefore key, as is constantly testing the way you do things. Complementing that is the potential to be continously learning. Social media marketing really stands out as a professional specialism where it's always possible to be learning. Every week new tools come onto the market. Every month it seems that one of the major social sites changes something about their service that you have to learn about and adapt to. So the most successful social media managers I see are those who are always looking to learn from others and experiment with tools that may give them an edge.


Successful Social Media Managers Are Super Efficient

Last but not least, some of the most successful social media managers I've seen are those who astound you with the amount they get done in their working week. They achieve a prominence in their industry that seems almost superhuman, achieving results with just one person that you'd have thought would need three!

These social media managers appreciate that streamlining their processes and finding ways to automate tasks is absolutely critical to maximising results. Note that I'm not talking about automating your social presence, which is certainly *not* what a successful social media manager will be doing! Rather I'm talking about looking at every aspect of what you need to do in (or would like to be squeezing into) your daily routine and then looking at every opportunity to automate and streamline those tasks. This is what frees up your time so that you can focus on the most value-adding elements of the job like adding personality to your posts and engaging with prospects via social media. Less successful peers always run out of time for these things because the routine elements of the job are eating away at too much of their working week.


Final Remarks

Running a social media agency, I'm lucky to have the chance to interact with scores of social media managers. These are my top 5 habits that I've seen the most successful have embraced, but I'm sure they're by no means exhaustive. I'd love to hear your own thoughts on things you've seen others in our industry do really well - so please do add your comments below... or tweet me on @tonyrestell.

 

Lead Generation: Email vs Social Media

Having built a social media agency largely on the back of leads generated by social media, you might think that I would be a huge advocate of social media generated leads... and you'd be right!  However as we've grown the agency we've also experimented with other means of generating leads. Given all the talk about email marketing being dead, I wanted to share our experiences of sparking client interest via email lead generation.
 

Lead Generation: Email vs Social Media

Background: Social Media Lead Generation

In the early years of Social-Hire.com, we were very much focused on generating leads via social media. If you're anything like me, I have always felt uncomfortable taking the advice of an SEO agency if I didn't find that that agency’s website was appearing highly in Google search results. My thinking is - if they can't get SEO results for themselves, what chance is there of them getting SEO results for my business!  I felt the same way about the credibility of a social media agency. If we couldn't generate leads and drive traffic with social media ourselves, why should anyone believe we could do this for their business?!

So our early years were almost entirely focused on generating leads via our social media presence. We've written elsewhere about generating new client leads on social media, so suffice it to say here that we've had huge success in sparking client conversations and prompting inbound sales enquiries as a result of our social media efforts. The question in my mind was whether email outreach could be anything like as effective?

An Experiment in Email Marketing For Lead Generation

As our business has grown and grown, we have proven the point that leads can be generated via social media and so have turned our attentions to how else we might generate quality leads. More recently that has seen us venture into the realms of email outreach campaigns.  I approved this with some trepidation. Like you, my inbox contains a daily barrage of spammy direct mails. So it was important to me that what we did here was of the highest quality, only approaching people we’d researched ourselves with an approach that was therefore highly relevant to them. Here’s how email stacked up against social media for us, based on five key areas of assessment:

  • Lead Generation: Quality of Leads
  • Lead Generation: Quantity of Leads
  • Lead Generation: Time Investment
  • Lead Generation: Speed of Response
  • Lead Generation: Reputational Risk

 

Lead Generation: Quality of Leads

Email score: 5/5
Social Media score: 4/5

The starting point for your email outreach efforts is to research your prospects online and then to source email contact details for those who look to be an ideal fit for your business. By definition the quality of leads you're approaching is undeniably very high. You could take the same approach with social media, identifying people you want to be engaging with and then looking for opportunities to do so. However in practice that is highly time consuming. For any list of prospects you would find more email contact details for them than you would find opportunities to engage with them on social media.

So the apples-to-apples comparison is rather to look at all the opportunities that there are for you to engage with people in your industry on social media and then to pick out those opportunities where the prospect looks to be of the greatest relevance to your business as a genuine decision-making prospect. The end result here is a very high quality of leads generated, but you will also find yourself interacting with some people who don't have the same decision-making authority that your email-sourced leads would all have. Hence a narrow victory for email here.

Lead Generation: Quantity of Leads

Email score: 5/5
Social Media score: 5/5

Once you have mastered how to generate leads via email and via social media, the likelihood is that you'll be able to generate significant volumes of quality leads via both channels. There are tools that can help you to do this and there are external service providers you can turn to if you want to outsource this task. So in terms of quantity of leads, in our experience there's nothing to choose between the two.

Lead Generation: Time Investment

Email score: 5/5
Social Media score: 4/5

Once you have got to the point that you are successfully generating leads via each of these routes, the ongoing time investment to do so is pretty comparable. Between a half hour and an hour of time invested each day is going to reap significant volumes of leads for your business. The only difference is in the upfront time investment.

If you have a quality website and a good service to offer, you can be up and running with email outreach efforts without any significant upfront time investment. Whereas with social media, it's our experience that accounts with a credible following and some active engagement are more likely to yield results when it comes to lead generation than brand new accounts. Therefore you should count on spending some months upfront in building this credibility for your social media profiles before you can turn to social media for lead generation. Hence a narrow win for email again.

Lead Generation: Speed of Response

Email score: 3/5
Social Media score: 5/5

By contrast, on this count it's a clear win for social media. Once you have mastered your social media lead generation funnel, you will frequently see the business transition from never having interacted with someone to having a call booked in with them in the space of literally a matter of hours! Things can progress very quickly if the lead has been generated via social media, especially if you focus on those social sites where prospects are most active.

The same is not true of email outreach. The statistics show that it usually takes a number of emails and follow up emails to prompt a favourable response from a prospect. It is only when they receive your 2nd or 3rd email that the recipient will start to appreciate that you are contacting them personally rather than this being yet another unwanted mass mail in their inbox. Consequently the timescales needed to actually generate real leads in the business are far greater for email than for social media. A clear win for social media.

Lead Generation - Email Outreach Stats

Lead Generation: Reputational Risk

Email score: 3/5
Social Media score: 5/5

If there's one thing I really love about social media lead generation, it's that when done properly it simply never generates a negative reaction. If you have had a friendly conversation with someone on social media about topics related to their business, you've built a connection with them that can then be very naturally progressed onto the suggestion that you should have a call or meet up or send them some information.

The same is simply not true of email outreach. Occasionally your research will be a little off, maybe the information you found about someone online is no longer current. So there will be times that you approach someone and your approach is no longer relevant. Similarly we have no way of knowing the frame of mind the person is in when your email lands in their inbox. Maybe you just caught them at a bad time. Sometimes negative reactions to your approaches can be turned around, other times not.

What I can certainly say from our experiments in this area is that your approaches to people will be like Marmite. People will either love you having approached them (in a manner that’s helpful rather than salesy) or they will hate it. I don’t think you can get away from the fact that you are going to alienate some people and therefore dent the reputation of your business with a small pocket of the market. You may decide that that’s a downside you can afford in your business, but certainly we have to acknowledge that this downside exists in a way it simply doesn’t on social media. Plus you need to be careful not to fall foul of anti-spam legislation in the way you conduct your approaches or you could face stiff penalties. So once again a clear win for social media.

Final Lead Generation Scores

Email score: 21/25
Social Media score: 23/25

I hope this has been a helpful look at the relative merits of lead generation via both email outreach and social media marketing channels. The results in our business mean that we will certainly be using both on an ongoing basis. However in the final assessment social media is the narrow winner, simply for the speed with which results can be generated and the lower risk of any reputational damage being done to the business. Where will you be focusing your efforts in the coming months given the above input? Do let me know on Twitter @tonyrestell or via the comments below.


Note: in branching out to email lead generation and nurturing, we reached out to a specialist email marketing agency to ensure that our results were comparable with best practice results.

 

Overcoming The 5 Challenges That All Small Business Owners Face

Ponder this for just a moment. What are the 5 most critical challenges for small business owners to overcome if your business is to flourish and leave you able to enjoy the spoils of your work? Here I'd like to talk about my own personal experiences, based on the 16 years I've spent as a small business owner myself.

Challenge 1: Bringing Leads Into The Business
Challenge 2: Conquering Cashflow Issues
Challenge 3: Learning To Delegate
Challenge 4: Choosing What To Outsource
Challenge 5: Building a Scaleable Business


Small Business Owner Challenges

Challenge 1: Bringing Leads Into The Business

This first one is such a critical topic I'm addressing it through a series of presentations (see lead generation webinar). One major constraint on the rate of growth a business achieves is its ability to generate a consistent and sizeable flow of quality leads. If the quality of leads isn't high enough, profitability will always suffer from the sales costs of interacting with such a high number of "prospects".

A key success factor for any small business is to find ways of bringing leads into the business that are i) not dependent on key individuals, ii) are easily scaleable and iii) are pre-screened so that sales efforts are focused only on the most promising of prospects. Can you disappear on holiday for a couple of weeks and come back knowing that there'll have been no discernible blip in new client leads and sales volumes? If not - or if that thought makes you feel nervous - there's work to be done on improving your lead generation activities.


Challenge 2: Conquering Cashflow Issues

The second challenge is toxic. Stressing over cashflow, about whether you have the funds in the bank to pay your bills, can be a huge drag on a business. Firstly it can be a massive source of anxiety for the business owner and sidetrack them from being the inspirational source of motivation and leadership that the business really needs. Secondly it can hamper the speed at which you grow - since your ability to invest in smart ideas is constantly constrained by your ability to finance them.

Some of the most successful small businesses out there have built their products or services around payment plans and practices that mean the business actually gets the money in the bank long before it's had an outlay of costs to deliver on those sales. If your business sells either to consumers or to other small and medium sized businesses, you 'd be amazed to find out just how many businesses have sold their offerings in ways that involve payment being received up front. Challenge yourself long and hard before giving in to any conclusion that this can't be done in your market. The upsides from removing cashflow worries from your business are worth more than a cursory thought - and indeed are worth restructuring your whole offering around.


Challenge 3: Learning To Delegate

The third challenge is undoubtedly tough. As a business owner, you need to focus your time on doing some of the most value-adding things in your company. When you began you may well have gotten involved in everything. You may have become quite the expert at a whole variety of business-essential activities, chores and tactics.

There comes a point though where your limited time becomes a serious constraint on the growth of your business. There are only so many years you can burn the candles at both ends without paying the price. To ever fully enjoy the fruits of your efforts, you're going to have to learn to delegate much of what you do to other staff. There are people much more knowledgeable about this subject than me, so I'll defer mostly to their wisdom.

For completeness though, my own experiences suggest you have to be prepared to accept windows of time when you feel like business results are suffering, in order that you may invest the necessary hours in bringing your colleagues up to a level of expertise that you can live with. Notice here I say "that you can live with". Some aspects of what you've learnt to do you've become such an expert at, it's not realistic to expect anyone else to pitch in and fill your shoes to your complete satisfaction without a considerable window of time for learning. A key part of delegating is accepting that someone doing a job 80% as well as you might have done it is still driving the business in the right direction. It's a mindset that many business founders struggle to accept - and in doing so, therefore inadvertently make their own time limitations a massive constraint on the growth of the business.


Challenge 4: Choosing What To Outsource

What may look like a related topic is becoming ruthless at deciding what can and can not be outsourced. There's often a certain prestige associated with growing a large team of staff and strolling in of a morning to that ever growing office space. Be wary though. Outsourcing can give you access to levels of expertise that you simply couldn't have afforded to hire in-house. It can allow you to react and adapt in your business far faster than if relying on internal hires. It usually involves a far smaller financial commitment and so leaves your business much more resilient to riding out any financial shocks that the business may suffer as well.

I still remember the weight that was lifted from my shoulders when I first outsourced a key element of the operations (our finance and accounting) in the early years of my first business. The time that was freed up in my day was a real boon for the business - and being able to turn to real subject matter experts paid off time and time again. I challenge you to think about every aspect of your business - your lead generation, your website, your social media presence, your HR function, your Finance function ... and force yourself to justify why that particular part of the business needs to remain in-house, rather than being outsourced to eg. a social media agency. There are without doubt cost-savings to be made by outsourcing. You'll probably become more expert in that area if you outsource too. So unless it is so strategic that you business just can not let go of it, think really seriously about outsourcing.


Challenge 5: Building a Scaleable Business

Last but by no means least is the challenge of building a scaleable business. So many small companies I've worked with have grown in a piecemeal fashion. They've evolved how the business functions from year to year to adjust to the fact that they're now a bigger operation. But that is entirely different from building a business to be scaleable from the outset. All too often, businesses become locked into the way they do things - locked into extremely costly and ineffective processes and supplier arrangements - because the founder hasn't regularly stopped to think about scaleability.

So I encourage you to ponder on your business now and imagine it being a business that is ten times larger. What challenges would you face that you barely face today? What processes and tactics could you do totally differently today if you knew with certainty that you would soon be ten times bigger? Wherever you identify something that would need to be done very differently, try to build the business from today onwards in a way that accommodates that need for efficient growth. You'll end up being able to grow far faster and with far less stress and pressure in the long run.


Final Remarks from a Small Business Owner

I've thoroughly enjoyed thinking about this post and the various challenges I've encountered in my time as an entrepreneur. I really hope it's given you at least one thing you can go away and reflect seriously upon in the next weeks. If you have other points to add to the list, please do comment via the box below - or send me a tweet on @tonyrestell. Best of luck to you and may you take your business to a totally different level in the years to come.