More than 1,490 recruitment agencies were set up last year and this number is growing rapidly. Here seven key areas to consider when setting up a recruitment agency in order to have the best chance of success.

Name your niche
Evidence shows specialist agencies that find a niche and develop their profile within it tend to do better. Common sense says continue in the area you worked in before you were your own boss. You should have a good level of expertise and a strong network. However, if you’re leaving your employer because the sector doesn’t suit you, you’d be better to choose a sector that you like – after all, it’ll be easier to build relationships with clients and candidates if you know and are interested in their industry.

Go offline
To start a recruitment business, in theory you don’t need much more than a computer, internet connection, and a phone. But while your online presence is important, don’t forget that to make your business work you need to maintain a human element. Employers and jobseekers are people and they will interact best face to face. Their true needs cannot always be captured by technology so ensure you take the time to meet clients and actively network. Getting out there is a very important part of the job.

…but maintain a strong online presence
However, it’s obviously important not to ignore the wealth of opportunity the web presents. Any recruiter should not only sign up to, but also be regularly monitoring LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and sector specific forums. Online job postings are available 24/7 to a vast audience and CV databases are highly searchable and can generate great candidates. The internet is a fantastic networking tool and allows you the flexibility to develop your business from almost any location.

Keep your website simple
If you have a good network of contacts and thorough industry knowledge, your website needn’t be overly ‘state-of-the-art’.  The most important thing to focus on is clarity: it must be well written (absolutely no typos), clear about the areas you work in and informative for both candidates and clients alike.

Use the right software
Choosing to store your contacts in Excel and posting each job individually, for example, is a waste of resource. Instead you should be looking at using the wide range of software available to make your life easier.

Look for companies that provide a suite of tools that enable you to post to multiple job boards and recruitment channels at once and search through CV databases with ease. Or if you’re going to be recruiting contractors you can use time sheet software  to streamline the process. Process automation saves valuable time and allows you to concentrate on the business of recruiting so is well worth exploring.

 Invest for the future
As a recruitment startup, you should be in a position where your overheads, such as office rental, are relatively low. Use the available funds to invest in a good business infrastructure. Starting out on a strong footing with the right technology and software will not only streamline your activity in the present, but benefit your business in the future as you grow. Getting it right from the start is important to long term success.

Be a legal eagle
It’s your responsibility to keep up to date on the laws affecting you and your business. The Acts you need to be familiar with include the Agency Workers Regulations, which ensures that employers do not breach the rights of agency workers.  The Equality Act 2010 is designed to ensure every candidate is treated fairly

The UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP Code) is in place to ensure that every job advert you post represents a real job and is fair and non-discriminatory, The Data Protection Act ensures client and candidate data is treated fairly, confidentially and professionally.