The Good, Bad and Ugly of Running your own Business!
As today the team and I head into the 9th year of running our own recruitment business, I reflect back on what has been an exciting, rewarding but sometimes challenging journey that us business owners face all across the country every day.
For those who know my story, sorry in advance, but for those who don’t here goes; I set up Thompson & Terry Recruitment, who are a recruitment firm that apply a head-hunting approach to typically recruitment agency level vacancies with no prior recruitment experience. The caveat to that is my former business partner, Mike Terry, who I purchased his shares in 2018, had worked in recruitment and indeed run his own business previously.
I was always the client facing partner and remember my first couple of client meetings turning up representing a brand nobody had heard of and with very little recruitment knowledge, but a clear vision and company values that we’d only submit a candidate if we’d personally employ them ourselves.
Within a few months, I had ‘learnt recruitment’ if there is such a thing and we were starting to impress clients with our thorough approach, but in my opinion the best part of running a small business is being able to ‘tweak’ every single day to become better which I am proud to say we have done!
As I touched on, for me the best part of running a small business is the autonomy to immediately action what you believe is best for your clients/customers, your team and indeed the community around you. There is nothing better than waking up at 3am in the morning with an idea and then being able to implement it straight away.
An extension of this is around creating a company culture and company values that completely align with your own and then being able to build a team that completely breathe those values is one of the greatest rewards.
The other ‘GOOD’ that stands out to me is definitely that the wins feel so much bigger than they ever felt in my previous employed jobs; I loved my previous jobs and always felt I was going above and beyond to do my best, but from other business owners I talk to, it’s just that something when the ‘goods’ come within your own business.
The Bad and The Ugly!
Luckily for me I have been fortunate to have many more good moments than bad and ugly but there have definitely been some over the years.
I think for me the one thing I have missed at times, especially since I bought Mike’s shares in 2018, is that support network. Whilst I LOVE being the head of the business, when employed you have a management structure, whether that be a line manager or board ahead of you but within a small business the buck stops with you.
I am so fortunate to have a strong network of fellow business owners, owning another business with Mike Foster (who was previously my coach) and having such a supportive team but owning a small business can be lonely.
I always remember when COVID was just starting, all our clients stopped hiring, a very big and well-known business quite frankly tried to bully us and there was so much uncertainty. In hindsight, I was so fortunate to have reserves and be able to pay every invoice whilst volunteering until the market recovered but at the time, let’s just say sleepless nights are a thing!
Whilst writing this piece and reflecting back on the last 8 years, I must say I have LOVED 99.9% of it and so grateful for the support this wonderful county of Oxfordshire has given me whilst building Thompson & Terry Recruitment.