Top tips for running a business

Posted by
Stylist Team
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Running your own business can be tricky, especially with limited budgets and time to manage client demands.

That's why Stylist has asked Colette Brown, managing director of global talent resource consultancy Prospect, to share her top tips for business success. From pay levels to client delivery, read on to find out more...

1. Invest in your staff

In tough economic times we know budgets for training and staff jollies are tight, making it even more important for business to take the time to communicate with and listen to their staff. Getting to know the individual and understanding their motivations and goals, their skills and experience and establishing what they want from their role will help ensure staff feel valued and keep them happier in their role for longer. When training budgets become available this knowledge can then be used to enhance staff capabilities delivering against their personal objectives.

2. Listen to your clients

Concentrate on gaining the deepest possible understanding of your clients and ask for their feedback on your performance. We know that the market doesn't stand still for our clients so it can’t stand still for us. We strive to gain fresh insights and explore the market for gaps in our knowledge, adding value where we can. To do this we do an annual client survey to understand further what a client wants from us, what we do well and what we can do better. This has been a great process and clients have engaged enthusiastically with it, saying that they found it doubly useful as it drove them to focus on their own recruitment processes and how to improve them.

3. Stay ahead of the game through market intelligence

Pride yourself as a business on the depth and quality of your sector knowledge and understanding including short-term and long-term trends and changes in the market. We focus on being innovative in our approach to developing and communicating market intelligence and recently we undertook a Salary Survey, surveying over 20,000 industry professionals, at all levels, to get an accurate assessment of pay and benefits within our industry. The PR & Communications market has typically been very opaque in terms of pay, making this a significant piece of work for both clients and candidates. It allowed us to accurately predict client salary costs and suggest suitable, competitive pay that will draw the very best talent to our clients, without breaking the bank.

4. Maintain a clear code of best practice and ethics

Simply, behave properly. For us candidates seek reassurance. They want to know they are in the hands of the best in the industry; that we're working hard to find them that dream role, and our success comes from never underestimating our part in that dream. We are not about filling seats and making a fast buck. At Prospect, we’d rather be known for listening to candidates and clients rather than chucking mud in the hope it will stick.

5. Conduct yourself professionally but with personality

This will help you to nurture long and strong client relationships whereby you truly act as their partners and an extension of their business. At Prospect staff know our industry and we are all very comfortable and skilled at our levels. Those not working in the recruitment world conjure up images of bad shiny suits with clip boards, chucking a CV about and hoping to make some money from it. We try and do everything to make sure that we are never put in that category!