Friday, 30 May 2008

HCareers in the UK down but not out....

After five years in the UK market,, the global hospitality niche recruitment site has decided to merge all operations to their North American HQ. A good source tells me that the last six months have financially been some of the healthiest Hcareers have ever experienced here, however the “cut throat” UK market has made profitably operating in the UK tough, therefore they will now be operating the UK site from North America .

  1. is it possible to service customer accounts from offshore (8 hours behind) via helpdesk?
  2. is UK market so different that lack of local knowledge will be a massive hindrance?
  3. is it possible to sell to customers in an incredibly competitive market a not massively well established site from offshore?
  4. is "merging operations" just a euphemism for running the site down to closure at the end of customer contracts? (bit like Northern Rock!)
  1. probably - most sites do not receive a huge amount of incoming queries and as long as you are efficient - its possible
  2. not really - difference schmifference - the UK is not so unique - same principles still apply
  3. virtually impossible
  4. almost certainly

Friday, 23 May 2008

Things I Have Learnt - Part 2

  • You have to, have to enjoy what you do. You are committing mentally and physically to your biz. Smiling and laughing are pretty much compulsory. And yes - unless you are very lucky there will be some dark days when you doubt yourself but accept these are going to happen and move on.
  • Be prepared to be wrong. I have pontificated on most topics associated with online over last 2 years and some of my positions have changed completely in that time. I am currently passionate that Twitter is a load of old tosh but its not a science - its just an educated opinion based on my view of the future. Hey - guess what i might be completely wrong and my answer to that is - so what! Our clients want to be able to discuss their options - argue the toss and come to decisions based on finite budgets - and they value informed opinion better than a list of infinite options of equal value.
  • Deliver brilliant service - the best source of leads are referrals and we have been flattered that certain people have put themselves out to recommend us on. It has meant that we have spent virtually nothing on marketing (is this a mistake?) as the pipeline always tends to look healthy - this is all relative sometimes that business pipeline looks rather sickly
  • Continue innovating and taking risks. You need to retain the vigour and vibrancy of a start up and especially to retain the status as a relatively "cool" company to use as a supplier. The big boys have inevitably improved their offering in 2 years - so we need to retain our competitive edge by innovating further.
  • Pick your business partner/s wisely - your relationship will be tested to the maximum and the small fault lines which exist at the beginning will be widened at times of great stress. and yes - its a cliche but it is exactly like a marriage. My co-founder Sean has been fantastic to work with but the relationship is entirely different than how we envisaged it to be. Most importantly though we trust each other implicitly.

If these sound like self congratulatory wise words - i can assure that despite knowing most of this going in - much of it has come from sometimes painful experience

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

OME - 2 Years Old - Things I have Learnt - Part 1

where did those 2 years go??? Some random truths i have picked up on the journey as an owner of my own rec advertising business
  1. Be a shameless self promoter - if you do not constantly extol the virtues of your business - don't expect anyone else to. Yes - you can do it in a self deprecating "British" type way - but don't stop doing it. Clients i think are really attracted by the genuine enthusiasm we bring to our work.
  2. Most people will help you most of the time (if they can) - don't be afraid to ask. I have a generally sunny disposition as to the motivations of suppliers, clients, partners and this has been regularly supported by help and assistance along the way. So thanks!
  3. Always help these same people where you can - its called Karma (or more cynically you scratch my back...)
  4. Keep it simple with clients - confusion = inactivity.
  5. Try and avoid 4 hour meetings and 20 page proposals (connected to Point 4) - our greatest successes have been from getting a small defined piece of work - doing it brilliantly and delivering the results and then being awarded larger and larger projects or all the work.
  6. Don't work for (insert rude word) clients - i really don't think its worth it - no matter how keen you are to get them on board. It will end in stress and probably a poor financial return. Our clients (and staff) seem to be similarly like minded people who take great pride in their work and want to be the best at what they do but also have it in the right perspective.
  7. Spend as little money as possible in Year 1 - concentrate on getting billing clients - the furniture, infrastructure, nice branding can come later
  8. Take a break occasionally. It is tough not to become a little obsessed by what you do - but us softies in media/advertising do need to switch off sometimes. And we certainly became a little frazzled. Go out, go on holiday - bunk off and have a game of golf, whatever it takes.
  9. Have faith that if you have a good business idea/product and are motivated enough to deliver it - success will come. As a small business - you will out-service a corporate entity - its a fact of life - and lots of clients appreciate and value that service. some don't - but so what?
  10. Finally - put aside the money for your tax bill ( i so wish i had done that!)

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Back to Blog

enforced break due to my daughter Maggie's arrival into the world - expect future entries to be made at 3am in morning during sleepless nights and repeats of Jeremy Kyle.
Anyway due to the 50% increase in my dependents - there will be no future mention of downturn, market tightening and recruitment freezes. This is not just due to my natural sunny optimism but also the TINA principle (There Is No Alternative)

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

whats a single job posting cost?

Official answer - anywhere between £0 and £999 and yet there is a general consensus that a job board posting costs between £300 and £500 - it does not matter if its or a posh site like - its another sign of the messy world of online recruitment advertisng that a ratecard price has no relation to quality of product or expectation of results but more about charging a naive customer as much as possible while offering a consultancy 20 times the job postings for same price. I am not complaining as a non naive buyer - our customers get competitive advantage - so makes us look good!
It is the one area that we now see the occasional price objection (and i maintain that in online rec adv - you should never get a price objection as the comparsion to press or rec con costs is laughable) which is progress i guess. RBI's telesales operation want to charge £990 for postings on their sites, PeopleManagement is getting up there too - but believe me you do get customers (rightly in most cases) saying they wont pay that much for a single job posting. is there a price point now at which point a site begins to lose business? answer - not sure depends on how market dominant site is - are they relating it to their ecommerce prices and their offers to rec cons - answer - almost certainly not.