Question :
Hi there,I am now a sole trader (I just let go of 2 x contract staff) in the sme & family business consulting space. I have a boutique business delivering people expertise specific to building capability and resourcing for growth. Like everyone else, I have been hit hard. 80% of my revenue came through sme recruitment. My model is customised to sme’s. I scope, search, select and on-board. Roles include Governance, GM, Senior Leaders, Office Staff and Warehouse. My offering can be un-bundled or bundled in an end-to-end offering (this is where my client gets the best result). The total cost is seriously 1/2 of what the fee based model the traditional recruiters charge. The hourly model enables this. The result and experience totally hands-on, consultative and supportive. The other 20% comes from consulting around organisation design, performance and capability building, (so many sme’s do not have performance management systems in place). Pre-covid I’d just started a move into succession planning and governance recruitment and board structuring advice for sme’s and family businesses. There’s a great market opportunity that sits there. My vision for the future is to get the sme recruitment business back on track ( I am sure that will happen). My heart sits with family businesses consulting, providing succession process support and a governance/board scoping, search and selection service offering. Family businesses are unique. Strong board selection is vital . You need to carefully consider their fit with the family. their values, skill set and experience with family governance. I am currently completing a Family Advisory course via Adelaide University. To my knowledge, I am the second in NZ to do so. I truly believe that Family Business should be identified as a sector here in NZ and plan to take an active role in carving out its formation. I will connect with channel partners to do this and look to get some family business statistics in the coming years. I would be interested in any top-level observations relating to rebuilding my business and creating my vision.Many thanks experts !I’ve applied for the covid-19 business recovery funding and have my fingers crossed it will be approved. I specifically need assistance with my businesses rebuild. I need to target my market with the right messages, create the right marketing content, optimize search engines, consider e-commerce and get onto all of the social platforms. 

Question submitted 13/05/20 @ 11:08am
Industry: Business Growth
  • Hi – Your business model sounds great, you have identified a niche and a need, well done. Family owned SME businesses are very personal, getting in front of owners will be key. You seem to have correctly identified how to get your messages out, crafting those messages is definitely important.

    Prior to the lockdown, do we assume that you had a set of messages and were already communicating with your potential clients? If so, what do you think you need to change?

    Where are you based, I would be interested to meet up and discuss what you are doing as my firm is involved with many family owned businesses and we are often asked for help around governance?

    I agree with Greg – great job on picking a specific sector to go after.

    I do think that the economic recovery may be uneven either in geographies or industries in NZ. It may make sense to start your focus in those geographies or industries that are seeing pick up. You can always do broader marketing but focus can help make sure that your time spent yields the highest return.

    I also wonder if you can spend some of your time forming partnerships (this may have been your reference to channel partners) with accountancy firms, legal organisations, etc. as a way to generate leads more efficiently. Most likely during this time people will be talking to these types of firms to understand cash flow, etc. .

    Finally, another idea is to hold some free seminars (or create online content that family businesses could use to plan) about family run businesses in our current economic climate. Maybe smaller roundtables with key owners that you know plus others that you invite to discuss how they are approaching the current situation? It may allow some high touch, trust building opportunities to generate business and consultancy.

    Hi there – have you considered extending your services to off-boarding? Pitch to clients that you will help with CV production for the people they are having to let go, as a final ‘service’ they could offer their people. Just a thought. All the best, Fiona

    Greg. Thank you for the vote of confidence around my niche and sorry for my late reply. I don’t believe my messaging needs to change too much, rather I need to apply patience and empathy for the struggles and challenges they are facing. I will connect with you directly. Thanks again.

    John. Thank you for your response and confidence. Stoked to tell you that I have free webinars in place that are being backed by the regional business partners. They have a family focus. The networking is an idea I had pondered and will now trigger as part of my suite of offers. Thank you for the trigger.

    Fiona. You’re answers are always so wise. I have battled with the short versus longer term play. I feel so tempted to go for the candidate support model for the next 18 months but know it will be a distraction from my longer term goal. You have provoked through around how I can include this in my suite.

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