New beginnings, excessively long contracts and “will you stop going on.”

With the official launch of Maxwell Bond happening this week, I’ve been overwhelmed by the flood of messages coming through from old, existing and new friends/colleagues/contacts asking about my new venture. I thought after my 1st week as a shiny new IT recruitment business owner – this would be the perfect time to tell everybody what they wanted to know!

It’s been an anxious journey for me because I’m not the sort of person who likes talking about myself and of course this is absolutely vital when starting out any sort of business venture. I suppose a lot of people can empathise with this as I expect it comes from growing up in Oldham, where too much self-promotion is greeted with a swift clip over the head coupled with a hearty “oh will you stop going on, no one cares”, usually from one of the lads. Despite this, I’ve been truly astonished at how many people have gone out of their way to wish me well and get back in touch once they’ve heard about what I’m trying to do. It’s been really refreshing & invigorating to hear from so many say things like “good on you” or “about bloody time” and my favourite “you’ll smash it.”

One thing I’m forever preaching to my consultants is about the continuous improvements and how just 1% improvement today will compound into a huge improvement in the future. This actually got me thinking about all of the things I’ve had to improve on to even get this thing off the ground. When you start to run a business alone, it can be daunting how much you have to do. Over the last few weeks I’ve learnt & done everything from;

  • IT – looking at domain names, sorting out email addresses and integrating CRM systems.
  • Marketing – “what’s the message” of Maxwell Bond my good friend Daniel Day shouted at me when I told him I was thinking of starting up.
  • HR & Finance – what do I want my terms of business, employment hand book and contract to look like and what impact will IR35 make on little old me.
  • Sales – What’s my elevator pitch? Why would someone pick me and my business over the umpteen hundred other businesses out there.
  • Cleaner – emptying the bins, cleaning the desk, figuring out where the hell the recycling is in the building.
  • Contracts – Oh the contracts… Figuring out why the hell there are they always at least 10+ pages, whether it’s signing up to CRM’s, Job sites, banking & invoicing or accounting systems!

One of my aim’s with this new adventure is to try and share as much of the journey with my network as I possibly can. It’s thanks to a lot of you that I’m here and it will be thanks to even more of you if I stay! I thought I’d compile a list of some of my favourite FAQs from the last week about my start-up business;

1. Why have you decided to set up when you’ve only just had a baby, are you mental?

Hopefully not ???? Having the birth of my daughter Alice in April really put things into perspective. Since I’ve been 16 years old I’ve always said I wanted to run my own business but I never knew in what industry. I still remember reading James Caan’s bio on how and why he came up with & established Alexander Mann. From his book I decided recruitment might just be for me and I’ll run my own recruitment business when I’ve gained some experience.

However, when I finally gained the experience I became comfortable in leadership roles running successful IT Recruitment teams. I kept thinking do I really want to go through the pain of all of the above, on my own, when I’m doing ok? That all changed when Alice was born, it gave me a much needed kick. I thought

“How could I, as a father, tell my daughter to pursue her dreams if I didn’t chase one of mine?”

2. What separates you from the competition? Isn’t there enough recruitment companies out there? Surely the world doesn’t need any more of you, you can’t be serious?!

When in the process of setting up Maxwell Bond, a lot of friends and family members asked me this. Recruitment is so competitive in today’s world, every “man and his dog” knows someone who’s worked in recruitment. What’s more, there are so many terrible stories out there of businesses that will do practically anything for a win to get some money on the books!

Well, it’s simple really. Since I’ve started recruitment, my focus has always been on the people. Regardless of the places I’ve worked, I’ve always focused on doing the right thing and helping people – whether it’s clients, candidates or team members. I find if you keep it simple and do the right things consistently, you’ll get a positive result most of the time. There’s a fantastic book called “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, who talks about keeping things simple through the Hedgehog principle – it’s definitely worth a read if you believe in doing things the “right” way in business.

Maxwell Bond has been created to focus on people and make sure they matter. There’s no fancy smoozing pitch with Maxwell Bond, no over promises, no confusing spiel. You could say we’re like Ronseal – we’ll do exactly what it says on the tin. No money spent one excessively fancy marketing campaigns, just word of mouth building our reputation by delivering a great service. The great thing is, the numerous private & public posts Maxwell Bond has received since launching from all the people I’ve worked with over the last 6 years has confirmed this to be the case. They all seem to echo the same thing – that my network believe I have a strong reputation for delivering great service whether that’s through placements, market information, consultative advice or just general help when they need it. I’m carrying this forward into my business and have made it my mission to make sure my brand lives, sleeps and breathes this message.

How’ve you found it? What’s the plan now?

The first few days have been a combination of emotions, but I thought it’s be fun to relay them Mancunian style. From the “proper good”/“mint”/”buzzing”/“absolute blinder” of winning your first new clients and getting your first candidate interviews, to the challenging “ard as nails” IR35 issues to read and understand! There’s also the “knackered”/”cream- crackered” from juggling too many things (new business, all the in-betweens, child, wife etc) and of course my trademark “mint that!!” when hearing good things from people!

Now things are starting to settle a lot more and I’m building momentum, I can refocus on the goals and plans I set in place when I originally started. The plan is to grow quickly by the end of 2017 and really establish a base in the North West by continuing to build a great reputation for delivering great IT & Digital Recruitment. This will involve investing and developing in my soon to be (well hopefully) staff. I’m also keen to give back to the community through raising funds & awareness. I always find a quote really ties this off – Richard Branson of course puts it best;

“If you aren’t making a difference in other people’s lives, you shouldn’t be in business – it’s that simple!”

Are you hiring?

Yes, I’m hiring already! I’ve been fortunate enough to win some new clients pretty quickly and I’m looking for a number of roles within the North West across digital & IT. Jump on the website to see what’s available or drop me a quick, confidential email and I’ll be happy to help.

Additionally I’m hiring for Maxwell Bond too. I’ve managed to secure extra funding and I’m starting the search for my first member of staff! If you’re a problem solver, have a good sense of humour, don’t mind working with someone from Oldham or Manchester (depending on who I speak to) and are looking to join a business on a mission of miracles, please get in touch!

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