Creating a business plan for the year ahead is something you’d normally look forward to when running a business, but after a year like 2020, planning anything becomes a bit of a minefield.
But looking ahead to see the light at the end of the tunnel is good for business, and while Covid-19 has exposed any potential weaknesses in your strategy, it also highlights strengths and reveals opportunities.
Building your business plan is a good way to visualise what your agency will look like once we’re on the good side of 2021 and position yourself for future success.
Here are some things to think about when creating your 2021 recruitment agency business plan.
Stick to a 6-month forecast
So much is changing week to week right now that short-term forecasts are all you can really manage. A half-year forecast for H1 of 2021 will give your business focus, without you having to redo it all three months in.
Although your forecast will be short-term, it’s a good idea to start thinking about it as early as the start of Q4 2020 as this gives you time to think strategically long term but implement short-term forecasts that won’t spell disaster if things don’t go according to plan.
Don’t base targets on last year’s results
Basing your targets on 2020’s results will give you a very skewed and confused picture. At the start of 2020, the recruitment industry was at its peak, then by April, it was one of the hardest hit industries as a result of the pandemic.
The market is now the opposite of what it was in Q1 2020. Basing your targets on results from a candidate-led market when we’re now in a job-led one will be counter-productive.
Instead, base your 2021 targets on your results from the last three months of business. Your most recent results will reflect the impact of Covid-19 on your recruitment business, and with no vaccine likely to become available until mid-2021, it’s the best forecasting data you’ll have for H1 2021.
Be conservative with your predictions
It’s important to be optimistic with your predictions and targets, but with so much uncertainty and the potential for a fair bit of turmoil before the recruitment industry fully recovers, it’s worth being modest when thinking about growth.
Be conservative with your predictions but also include stretch goals to keep your recruiters motivated during periods where things pick up. Rethinking your KPIs in the context of a Covid-friendly commission scheme will be a great way to be realistic about the future.
Think about strategic hiring
If you’ve had to make redundancies due to the pandemic, hiring new recruiters won’t be happening in 2021, but what about hiring in other areas of the business that will strengthen the recruitment team you have now?
For example, could you hire a highly-skilled marketer to handle job ad promotion and company branding to get your name out there? Someone who will create a constant flow of leads for your recruiters to work so they don’t need to waste time hunting for them.
Strategic hiring like this is great to think about when your business is in recovery after a wave of redundancies and they could help you recover quicker.
Revisit your competitive power
It’s likely your position in the market has changed in recent months. What are your business’s strengths and weaknesses in context of a Covid-19 recruitment market?
Do any of your strengths not stand up in this new normal? Do you have to work on adjusting some things to become competitive again?
Now is the time to start thinking strategically about the next steps for your agency.
Leave space for digital investment
If there’s one thing that Covid-19 has taught us, it’s that going digital is the best way to protect your business.
Businesses that can operate entirely online will be able to withstand another wave or even another pandemic later down the line. How can your agency pivot to adjust to the new normal? The one area you should think about investing in next year is going digital with your processes.
Rethink your business model
If you’re an agency that has relied 99% on contingency for revenue, you’ll struggle to hold up in a job-short market.
Would you consider targeting your recruiters on retained contracts instead of allowing them to continually fall back on contingency because that’s what they know? Will you start recruiting temps and contractors as well as perm?
Now is the time to take these kinds of risks to make big changes to how you do business.
The eBook below should inspire you to think about adopting a new recruitment business model in 2021. Good luck!