Question :
I am a small business owner and into my 2nd year of business. We conduct background checks and reference checks on potential new candidates for our clients. We have been hit pretty bad through covid19 as have many other businesses.I am constantly looking at ways of pivoting my business but due to recruitment being very quiet it is hard.Any suggestions how I can use marketing to gain my interest of my brand and services as I am still quite new to the industry also.If you have a magic wand can I borrow it. Seriously it would be great to hear any ideas you have. Thanks for creating this amazing platform it is appreciated.Thank you 

Question submitted 25/04/20 @ 07:53am
Industry: Brand & Marketing
  • Up

    Thanks for reaching out.

    The first thing that came to mind was targeting. Some industries will thrive during this time and you may have already considered this but it might be prudent to draw up a list of those industries and the businesses that operate within them using a simple framework:
    Essential services//Grocers//New World etc
    E-commerce//Retailers//MightyApe etc

    Once you’ve created a spreadsheet with a long list of potential ‘thrivers’ start to consider how you might position your business and how you’ll target these businesses. (See Andy’s LinkedIn article describing the thriver segment – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/covid-19-response-some-thoughts-how-business-economy-can-hamilton )

    What’s your angle? How will you stand out vs the competition? Who are your competitors? What’s your unique value proposition? What’s your unfair advantage? How will you price your services to be competitive and sticky?

    If you have clearly articulated answers to these questions then it’s time to consider your brand and marketing strategy as it relates to each segment you’ll target. If some of the above questions are a little loose then I’d suggest working through a lean canvas ahead of preparing marketing materials – https://leanstack.com/leancanvas

    Shout out if you need a hand and I’ll help out as best I can.


    This is a challenging space to be in I think – both now and over the next economic horizon as external checks can be bought in house when budgets are tight. Sorry I know that is the opposite of a magic wand, but I want to be realistic with you.

    So knowing that context, I would consider a few things.
    Ensure your pricing is really competitive – make it compelling to build your base
    Use this quieter time to build your network with key hiring managers and decision makers in this space, so you are top of mind when things pick up
    Offer a solution for leaner HR teams – if HR and recruitment teams are slimmed down they may need to outsource some functions when things pick up and this could work for you
    Build your profile as an expert on Linkedin. Consider crafting a 3 months communications plan covering the key messages you want to share about your expertise, benefits of using your service, etc and communicate with your target market

    Good luck!


    I want to focus on the marketing side for a moment, where are you marketing your business right now? Yes things have slowed down considerably and they may stay that way for awhile, but someone is still using a service like yours so we need to find them! I love Russell’s idea of targeting industries that are thriving, in would be a great idea to try and connect with some leaders in those industries on Linked In, and a good time to really update your Linked In profile. Consider the information you are making available via the platform that is useful to your potential clients.



    Thanks for reaching out!

    Some awesome advice above! In addition to understanding your Segmentation, (who are you targeting? are you focused towards a specific Industry? What is your differentiator?) Now is a really good time to build your network through online forums such as LinkedIn or other social networks that your Customers may be part of. I have seen a bunch of really good networking events and webinars pop up over the last few weeks, is there an opportunity to look at attending, supporting or speaking at to raise your profile?

    LinkedIn Learning offers free courses on both marketing and how to use the platform that may be useful and I saw that Robett Hollis (https://www.linkedin.com/in/robett/) posted this morning on LinkedIn that he was running a free webinar on how to get the most out of LinkedIn that may be worth checking out.

    Please let me know if I can help with anything further!


    Great advice above on how to think about your business and who to sell to regarding your services as there are companies continuing to expand.

    As someone who used to have to purchase these services some things that came to my mind:

    1) Can you move farther up the value chain in candidate selection? I don’t know if your service is about straight pulls from databases, etc. but is there something creative you can do to help people screen and shortlist candidates rather than just do the background check? The unfortunate outcome of COVID is there will now be lots of candidates applying for roles….how can you help small business cull through the list faster?

    2) Can you partner with recruitment agencies? That might be easier than going direct to some businesses.

    3) Have you spoken to customers that are still hiring and how they make their decisions on purchasing these services? From my experience we tried to find firms that could either a) handle volume and/or b) turnaround time. In all cases we needed assurances on how to handle complicated/judgement cases and the ability to report out SLA’s as the worst thing was losing candidates because our background check provider was overwhelmed, etc. . Those things may be interesting to think about if #1 turns out to be true.

    4) This was mentioned above by Russel by bears repeating…find out what you can add to the process that is different and sticky. Many times, in my experience, these contracts are often about price and speed because everyone pulls form the same database. Use talking to customers to figure something else out if you don’t have it already.


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