I had the opportunity to attend the 6th annual Avionte Client Connection a couple weeks ago. If you are not already familiar with Avionte, they are a staffing and recruiting software company. But they are more than just a staffing software provider; the people at Avionte really pride themselves on relationships they have with their clients.
Sure, the Client Connection is about software and the future of Avionte. But it’s also about sharing ideas, getting direct client input into future product design, and deepening relationships between the “techies and their “users.”
So, since many of our clients use Avionte’s software, we thought the Client Connection would be a great opportunity to meet with our clients and see how technology is intersecting with their marketing. We also thought it would great to learn more about some of the upcoming trends in staffing software.
For me, the best part of the Client Connection was being able to pick the brains of some very successful people in the staffing industry. During the conference, I conducted one-on-one interviews with owners, executives and other staffing industry leaders. I asked them to share their insights and a few “secrets of their success.” And before I forget, I want to send a big “thank you” to all the amazing people who offered such terrific words of wisdom to me.
Now I want to share a couple highlights of what I learned with you.
So, let’s dive in and look at two successful entrepreneurs…get ready, epiphanies ahead!
My first victim was Pat Frank from Staffing Support Specialists, a commercial staffing firm that operates two offices in Wisconsin. He confided in me that there was no magic wand here– he just go up and went to work every single day at 7 am. Being part of a farming community, where people getup really early, this was the best time to network at ground level.
But hard work wasn’t the only value that made Pat successful. Integrity was every bit as important. After just a few minutes of conversation with Pat, it was clear to me that he is a man of real character, and that simple value permeates the way he treats his clients, internal staff, and the employees they place on assignment. It may sound overly simplistic, but honesty, candor, and living by the golden rule is still an effective business practice. For Pat, living by these values accounted for employee referrals being the biggest percentage of growth for his company.
A long time acquaintance of mine, Eileen Sheehan from Able Associates, was happy to share her secrets. Eileen runs a single office staffing firm in Massachusetts that focuses mainly on administrative and light industrial placements with a small concentration in IT. Eileen was quite forthcoming when she stated that she has always done everything by the book. By refusing to take shortcuts and doing the necessary due diligence in her business development, recruiting and internal hiring practices, Eileen has built a strong business known for quality and thorough service. A top to bottom commitment to doing the right things, the right way have helped Able Associates to become one of the most respected staffing firms in her community. And that impeccable reputation has been the key to her long-term success. Eileen also stressed that good employees are the cornerstone to her business (and every quality staffing organization). She lives by the old adage “hire slowly and fire quickly!”
Eileen did admit that over time, she learned not to be so conservative. Looking back, she felt that if she had taken some more risk early on, she would have been better off, sooner.
At the end of the day, as a business owner, there are a lot of factors to becoming successful. My takeaway…old fashioned business values aren’t so old fashioned. And while technology may be changing how staffing gets implemented, the most successful staffing firms live by simple, timeless values. They are prepared. They work hard. They communicate well. They take risks…and learn from their mistakes.
If you run a staffing firm (and live your life) by your principles, you’ll be farther ahead and on your way to a more rewarding and successful life.