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Creating Certainty in Uncertain Times, Part 1: Define Your Positioning

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Confession: I’ve had enough of this year. 

Enough of the news.
Enough of social media. Enough negativity in our lives. 

I think this year has pushed all of us to our limits. Coronavirus. Lockdowns. Record unemployment. A global recession. Fires. Floods. Oh yeah, and it’s an election year. 

My biggest hope for 2020… 

is that none of us ever see another one like it! 

But we’re here now. While we can’t change reality, we can absolutely change how we see things and how we deal with challenge. As Sir Winston Churchill famously said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” 

If you are in staffing or recruiting, the challenge you face is creating more certainty. Certainty in sales. Certainty in recruiting. And most importantly, certainty in your cash flow. 

You need to build a sales and recruiting engine that powers your company, enables your salespeople and recruiters to achieve greater results (without incessant cold calling), and strengthens your business so that you thrive in the months and years to come. 

Not sure where to start? This series will walk you through the steps you need to take!

How to build your sales and recruiting engine

Step 1: Define your positioning 

Where are you the best in the world? In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins defines a concept he calls the “hedgehog principle,” which is a convergence of three things. 

If you ask most staffing company owners “what makes you different?,” you’ll often hear some variation of “it’s our service” or “our relationships” or “how much we care about our clients and candidates.” 

While these are all great values, they don’t create differentiation. They don’t position you to stand out. To really define your positioning, you need to apply Jim Collins’ model. 

What are you deeply passionate about? 

Why did you get into staffing? Is it about the kinds of people you place? The types of clients you serve? A commitment to helping people advance their careers? 

A staffing company built around a passionate belief will be much stronger than one built around a general goal of providing better service. 

Where are you (or can you be) the best in the world? 

What types of people are you really good at recruiting? What industries or job functions do you really understand? What unique skills, experience or technology does your company possess? In what locations are you strongest? Or with what size clients or types of staffing buyers?

The idea is to define a very specific market segment or service offering where you can consistently outperform every other staffing and recruiting company on the planet. 

What is your economic engine? 

What is the value you offer that people will pay you to deliver? Is it traditional “temp help” or “direct hire recruiting” where you are paid a premium (or fee) for providing talented people that companies cannot find on their own? Are you paid for the convenience you offer? The result you deliver? In staffing the economic engine is most often thought to be “we provide people to do work.” But could your value be more than this? Are there better ways to deliver…and get paid for the value you can offer? 

Positioning is about defining your turf…carving out a segment of the staffing market that you truly own. This can be based on the types of people you place, kinds of clients you service, where you offer your services, or how you provide service delivery. 

With positioning, think of a pie. That pie represents all staffing and recruiting services (or bigger picture, all workforce management solutions). Your positioning represents the slice of the pie that you own. The idea is to pick a slice (your hedgehog) that you truly own and one that is large enough to allow you to accomplish your business goals. 

Up Next: Define Your Brand

Branding is about clearly defining how you want to be seen. And then ensuring that message permeates everything you do. My next post will walk through the importance of doing so – but if you can’t wait until then, check out the full article here!

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