Stop Trying To Be Everything For Everyone

Dear Barb:

I’ve been in this business for more than 15 years. Now, our sales are decreasing. We have reduced our fees over the years, and our margins were quoted low to beat out our competitors. With increased costs, we are barely breaking even on some business. I understand the low margins on our light industrial and clerical business, but I think we should be charging higher margins for IT and engineering.

We are only filling one out of every 15 orders we write and only one out of every 18 temp assignments. I would like to hire, because the two people I have can’t handle the order flow, but I don’t have the money to take on additional overhead. Any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

Michael J., Detroit, MI

Dear Michael:

It sounds like you are trying to be “everything” for “everyone.” As a result you and your team are spread too thin to be effective. The firms that are making the highest profits are firms that have selected a niche. You are writing orders in light industrial, clerical, IT and engineering, but there are only three of you. The order-to-fill ratio in your business is extremely high. Think for a moment of all the orders and temp assignments that you worked that made you absolutely nothing.

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You need to conduct revenue modeling to determine your best business, and as result you will identify your best business. You then target 85% of your marketing efforts at that exact business. Send an email to and we will send you instructions on how to conduct revenue modeling.

The margins charged for light industrial and clerical are significantly lower than IT or engineering. When you are placing IT or engineering contractors your clients must realize the bill rates will be significantly higher. It sounds like it is time to upgrade your clients.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS, is one of the most trusted experts, speakers, and trainers in the Staffing and Recruiting Professions. If you want to receive FREE training articles from Barb, sign up for her NO BS Newsletter! Barb has spent the last twenty years focused on helping Owners, Managers, and Recruiters increase their sales, profits, and income.

Her Top Producer Tutor web-based training program jumps-starts new hires and takes experienced recruiters to their next level of production. Barb's cutting-edge program, Happy Candidates, provides you with a Customized Career Portal in less than 10 minutes. Happy Candidates allows you to help the 95% of candidates you don?t place and eliminates the greatest time waster in your business.

If you'd like to contact Barb, call (219) 663-9609 or email


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