What a Time to Start a Business

Even in the uber-cyclical recruiting business, where search firms like Heidrick & Struggles are taking their names literally, there’s no time like the present, apparently.

That is the case at least for Jeff Perkins. He had been managing the corporate recruiting team at Invista, a subsidiary of Koch. His team went from 13 people to five. This February, he was let go.

So, Perkins decided to open up his own shop. Truthfully, he’d started getting it together last October, but, he says, he was “forced to do it a little sooner than I wanted to.”

He’s going after professional jobs such as HR, accounting, and engineering. Back office, mainly. He’s also trying to make some money from candidates.

“I wasn’t actually as nervous as I thought I’d be,” Perkins says. “Maybe it’s part of my makeup, but it’s a pretty good time to start a business. I’m a believer the economy will eventually turn around.”

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He’s thinking this is a better time to start a business than in a big economic expansion. That’s because in a fast-growing economy, “companies don’t have time to talk to you. They’re pretty set in their ways.” Now, he says, “It’s a great time to build relationships.”

He’s not doing a lot of recruiting right now. Instead, it’s outplacement work, which he hopes will lead to recruiting work with the same companies once they start hiring again. “I look at it in the long-term sense rather than just as quick money.”

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