Once you’re off-the-ground you’ll want to stay that way, which is why you want to avoid these common quagmires that agencies fall foul to.


Starting a business is going to consume a lot of time so ensure it’s spent in the right direction. There are a number of tasks that are a necessity and some that can be shelved for later.

If you’re not careful you can spend more time doing the easier, more enjoyable tasks (i.e. choosing a logo) and less time actually focussing on the priorities that will line your pockets.

A vacant business plan

Before you start, you need a business plan. The old adage really holds true around failing to plan and without a roadmap you’re going to be a left a little lost. Knowing exactly what you’re offering and who you’re offering to is going to lay the foundations for when you start to scale.

Realistic budget

Cashflow is the lifeblood of any start-up and even more important for recruitment agencies running contractors. With payments coming out and unpaid invoices sitting in the pipeline you need to be adept at planning your finances.

To keep your head above water track your costs, have suitable finance to bridge the cashflow gap, and know how your fixed outgoings match against your income.

Failing to attract candidates

Many fledgling agencies fail to appreciate the difficulty in developing an efficient candidate acquisition strategy and the tools needed to execute this.

They also fail to track where the candidates apply from so cannot channel money into the strategies that create results. Tools such as Broadbean will allow you to easily post to job boards, search CV databases and track your applicants.

Looking like the little guy

Just because you’re recruiting from your bedroom, doesn’t mean you have to look like you are. There’s no excuse for your stationery, branding, and online presence to appear like a 10 year old threw them together in paint.

Utilising software such as online timesheets will give an outward impression of a bedroom Zuckerberg.

Failure to adapt

The beauty of starting your own business is that you can potentially react to changes in the market much quicker than larger companies. Failure to adapt and move swiftly enough will mean you miss out on advantages that your size allows.

Infrastructure? What infrastructure?

Failure to invest in a half decent infrastructure is a sure fire way to make sure your business doesn’t see its first birthday. A simple CRM system is a must, an excel spreadsheet or crafted rolodex may be useful now but it’s not scalable. Likewise a proper email address rather than gmail.com is going to carry more weight with clients and candidates.