As income tax season concludes for 2010, have you found a few extra dollars about to burn a hole in your pocket? Even though your first instinct may lead you to a sunny vacation on the Riviera after two or three tough years, consider how reinvesting all or part of your tax refund back into your business to create efficiencies can increase your profits for 2011.
Many of us cut corners wherever we could in the past few years to weather the economic storm, but the general consensus in the recruiting world is that we are all getting busier. As the unemployment rate continues to drop and business keeps picking up, now is the time to consider what your needs are this year from an infrastructure, staffing, facilities, and technology standpoint.
Infrastructure — Do you have enough well-trained, efficient people to help you drive business? I know my team has been feeling the need for some extra man- or woman-power these past few months. Even though we have had the need for a while, it’s taken us a few months to identify exactly the right person and where they will be needed most. Start looking now for talented people that could be groomed to be top producers next year. I know some great recruiters have already been snapped up recently!
Staffing — Is your candidate pipeline robust enough to meet your clients’ increasing demands? Many candidates have been holding steady for the economy to start to turn, but if you haven’t pipelined your needs in a while, now’s a great time to evaluate your business over the past twelve months and forecast for the next twelve months. There’s nothing like a lost placement opportunity to make you lose sleep at night, so engage a coach or consultant to help you plan and stick to it.
Facilities — Do you need more or less space? How has your business changed over the last three years? Could you enhance your value proposition with your employees by offering a new telecommute option which could lower your space needs? Would new furniture in the office elevate the mood? Now is a great time if you are a real estate investor to possibly buy a small building, using part of it for your operations and leasing the rest to create a long-term revenue stream. Consult a local real estate expert in your area to determine the next best up and coming area that you might be able to capitalize on now. As with any major investment, you’ll want to consult your tax advisor and attorney when you find the property of your dreams, but there are many great deals out there if you’re willing to make the commitment.
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Technology — Having just gone through a major candidate/client tracking system conversion, if this is something in which you may be considering making an investment, plan on it taking twice as long as you think it will and more than twice as long as you want it to! I find it hard to believe that there are firms out there still using manual and/or word files and excel spreadsheets to track candidates. Change is always difficult but in the technology area, there are great efficiencies to be gained if you can work through the pain. There are major differences in the systems on the market so you need to really sit down and evaluate your front and back office needs as well as your search engine optimization and social media plans before moving ahead. For a few hundred dollars a month you can gain several thousand dollars in placements with some enhancements like text messaging and other features many of these systems offer.
Training — The best investment you can make is in the area of training. You may also want to consider rewarding your loyal hardworking staff who has stuck it out with you the past couple years with some offsite training. There are a lot of great recruiters out there experiencing burnout and need to take a couple days away from their desks to re-energize and fill their recruiting tanks with new ideas. The Fordyce Forum is a great opportunity to combine education and creative thought with some fun in the evening as well. Through April 22, you have the opportunity to take advantage of special pricing for registration, and an even deeper discount if you are bringing two or more people.
No matter what path you choose to invest in, know that investing in yourself, your company, and your team is the best investment you can make to enhance your future. Hold yourself accountable to make your investment multiply and pay huge future dividends.