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Q&A Session: What Tips Do You Have for a Staffing Agency Start-up?

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I recently had the opportunity to record a podcast with Todd Lewandowski, host of Haley Marketing’s Secrets of Staffing Success.

In this session, we opened it up to listener questions. We asked staffing and recruiting professionals to share their marketing questions with us, and Todd grilled me with question after question! One of the questions asked was:

What are some marketing and business tips you have for a staffing agency start-up?

This is a great question. The American Staffing Association estimates roughly 20,000 staffing companies operating 39,000 offices throughout the U.S. To put it bluntly, it’s a competitive industry. New start-ups need to do everything possible to stand out from the competition and gain market share in a saturated industry. So to help, here are just a few of the ideas I shared on the podcast:

  • Identify Your Place in the Market
    With almost 40,000 other staffing offices, you need to choose how you want to be seen and know where you fit in. Are you Walmart or Neiman Marcus? Mercedes Benz or Tesla? Pizza Hut or the local boutique wood-fired specialty pizza shop? You need to determine how you want to be seen. You need to develop a strong positioning message. And, you need to identify that one thing that you will be the best in the world at. If you can accurately identify the one part of the market you can own, you can begin marketing your business more effectively. Another way to look at this is to think about a grocery store. If your “product” was to be found in a grocery store, what department would it be in (meats, canned goods, fresh produce, etc.), then what aisle would it be in, then what shelf would you find it on, and finally, what other products are close by. This little exercise will help better classify your services, identify your competitors, and refine your messaging.
  • Don’t Be Everything to Everyone
    You can’t be the entire grocery store. You can’t be the entire department. You probably can’t even own an entire shelf. Especially as a start-up. The companies that try to be everything to everyone, turn themselves into a commodity that sells on price and low (unsustainable) margins. Don’t get caught up in that trap. Instead, pick something you can specialize in. We find our most successful clients have focused on an underserved niche. We have a client that only places electrical engineers for railroad freight companies. Another that specializes in recruiting for shipyards. Yet another that specializes in matching surrogate mothers with families (talk about a unique niche!). Now, maybe you don’t have to be as niche as those examples, but hopefully, you see my point. Pick a core focus and don’t deviate and take just any business that distracts you.
  • Develop a Great Core Story
    Once you’ve identified your place in the market and know your area of specialization, it’s time to develop a core story. A core story can help set you apart from the competition, explain why you’re in business, and most importantly identify the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). Clearly identify what’s in it for the end consumer. Why should they work with you, instead of a competitor? What is the key rationale for choosing you? What are they going to get working with you, that they won’t get working with anyone else? Mix all of these things into your core story and your marketing messages.
  • Set Specific Goals
    This seems like common sense but it’s often overlooked. You’re never going to hit your goals if you haven’t clearly set them and made them public. The key is setting SMART goals. They should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. I’d also suggest you make them public so everyone in the company understands the goal, and everyone is working towards the same ultimate goal. Once you’ve identified a time-bound SMART goal, don’t wait until the due date to check your progress. Set very specific check-in points to ensure you’re on track. If you’re not, adjust.
  • Develop Strong Partnerships
    Look at the leading vendors and support companies in the industry. Partner with companies that understand the market, understand the competition and can give you market insight. In many cases, they have already made or seen the mistakes that await you. Partnering with the right people will help you avoid costly mistakes and set you up for success. And of course, call Haley Marketing Group! We can help with brand positioning, digital marketing, direct mail, sales collateral and more!
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