Recession: A survivor’s tale

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Man Wearing Blue Crew-neck Top

When I was 29 years old, a team of intrepid colleagues and I founded Recruitment Solutions. We were ambitious. We opened with 10 people on day one. We had two offices and big dreams, and we grew and thrived, in three years reaching $13 million in revenue, five offices, 75 staff and 250 active perm job orders.

But then, Australian economy collapsed into a deep recession, and we were hit hard. Our revenue fell to $9 million. In a year. Staff numbers dropped to about 30 — all of whom took a 10% salary cut. Admin staff were eradicated, with consultants shouldering the load. And open perm job orders were a scant 18., from a high of 250 only 12 months prior

I could go on.

But for four key facts working in our favor, we would have failed.

  • We had a strong temporary business, which kept us afloat.
  • We had no debt, so we were not crippled with repayments when revenue dropped.
  • We had some great recruiters who saw the thing through. Recruiters with character. Recruiters who were not just boom-time show-offs. Recruiters who could win business in a declining market.
  • And we cut our expenses fast and very deep, early.

When the market recovered, we found many of our competitors had disappeared, leaving a clearer playing field.

Meanwhile, our clients valued that we had persisted and felt bound to us as ‘fellow – survivors’. We found the consultants who survived had been burnished by the fire of true battle and were tougher, more loyal and far more skilled.

In two years, our revenue grew to $18 million. Five years later sales were over $40 million and the business was so profitable we could list it on the ASX at a value of over $60 million at its peak […]

Source: The Staffing Stream

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