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Doubling His Business For The First Time in 11 Years: Antonio Volante’s Success Story
Posted by Denise
Today in our Recruitment Hero Series at Centredexcellence, I share Antonio Volante’s success story.
It’s pretty jaw-dropping what he has achieved over the last six months being part of the RockIT programme.
We wanted to share how doing a simple time management audit shifted the growth of Antion’s recruitment business.
From feast and famine to working a smaller niche, outsourcing work and building his team to have his best year in over eleven years.
Antonio joined our RockIT program, so I asked him several questions to tease out all the actions she took that delivered the results she achieved.
Tell Us More About Your Recruitment Background.
I am the CEO of LAN Group and have been in recruitment for over twenty-four years with the last eleven years in my business at LAN Group. I primarily focus on finance and HR placements in mid to senior-level roles in the public sector. This includes housing associations, charities, and the education sectors, including the academies, colleges, and university sectors.
When You First Talked to Us What Was Happening With The Business?
Well, working with you guys has been life-changing; it has, though let me explain why. When I joined RockIT, I had three main challenges.
The first was not being able to grow the business because I was doing everything myself. My problem is that I’m too much of a perfectionist, and I have to do everything, but the reality is it’s a stupid way to work really, and once you realise that and get the help you need, it will make a huge difference to how you can grow your business.
I am sure many other business owners can relate to being a perfectionist. It has its uses at first, but then it slows you down. I used to be obsessed with ensuring the CV was formatted right, which I thought only I could do. Which, in hindsight, was crazy as my VA, who I now use, is so much better than me.
The other issue I had was that when you work on your own and you do everything, I never spent any time working on the business rather than in it.
So strategy fell by the wayside, and it was, grab what you can in terms of business opportunities when they came up; And again, that’s not the best way to go about expanding and growing a business.
The final challenge was my scattergun approach to business development. I had no defined target market and approach to my BD work.
Whilst I could get business in, there wasn’t a focus on where it would come from in the long term, which is always a worry.
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What Have You Implemented So Far From RockIT That Has Made That Transition Possible?
One of the first things I did was fill out the activity inventory. For me, that was groundbreaking in terms of realising how much work I did that wasn’t adding value to the business in terms of its growth or development.
Once I had completed the inventory, I realised how much work I could get off my plate and give to someone else around the admin side, the non-money-making tasks that made a big difference to my time management and ability to push things forward. That exercise made me realise I need to get a VA in as soon as possible; let’s get them doing some of these tasks.
That’s exactly what I did and, straight away, made a big difference, just on one small action. Then there was the business x-ray, which is such a key task.
It allowed me to analyse where all my placements had been coming from over two years. The results surprised me.
Because of this, I realised that 80% of my business was coming from one area of the market where I was working; it was a no-brainer for me to say, actually, from now on, I need to spend more time in this area because it’s where most of my business comes from; rather than trying to ‘be’ everywhere thinking you will win more business which isn’t the case.
So having a more defined target market with fewer clients and making more of an inroad into that particular environment is more productive for your business in terms of getting a reputation in the market.
So defining what you do and being good in that micro-niche will get you more financial rewards and status within that marketplace.
The business x-ray helped me define a business development growth strategy aligned with where to focus my attention, and I now focus on that particular area in more detail.
In the time I’ve implemented that strategy during the last six to nine months, I have doubled our turnover, which has been amazing.
Something that I’d not done ever in the 11 years that I’ve been running my business, having the extra time and defining the target market were key areas.
The other action I took was to change our recruiting model away from 360.
360 recruiting was something I’ve been used to all my recruitment working life, but now I know there are more effective models to use in the marketplace.
Once I had researched which model was best for me with your help, I quickly implemented that model. I then recruited a resourcing and a new business development consultant.
From a time management perspective, this has made everything more efficient and allowed me to earn more money because, you know, I’m not getting bogged down with resourcing anymore.
I have a dedicated resource person that greatly impacts the bottom line. I know many people struggling with using someone to resource candidates; as business owners, we always think we are the best at everything; that was always my philosophy and mindset.
One of the things that you guys did on RockIT is challenge me, especially the one-to-one sessions regularly, to get me thinking about different ways of working and why they would be more productive and effective.
These conversations in the RockIT programme convinced me to try something different because, obviously, what I’ve done over the last 11 years is fine, but it hasn’t worked in terms of where I want to be with the business.
It was hard for me to change that model that I’ve been used to working for so many years. But you know what, I’m glad I have done that now because my resource set in week five has closed his first deal already; funnily enough, what’s interesting is that we both resourced the same job; and his candidate got the offer.
I was pleased for him, and it was a reassurance that, you know, there are people that can do that job hopefully as well as I can in time.
It showed me I could let go of things I never thought I would. The activity inventory was a game changer. After all, now that I have started to accept change, I am identifying what else I can give to other team members positively because I’m not afraid to do that.
Whereas before, I didn’t trust anyone; no one could do it like me. Now it’s like, you know what, I need someone that can do this, that and the other because it will free up my time to do this, that and the other.
It is all part of that mindset shift that, over time, you realise why it’s important to delegate and the impact that that’s had and is having.
One of the other things I wanted to mention in the past is that when it comes to hiring staff, I have always ‘winged’ it and gone on gut feel without a structured process
Through working through the hiring winners, module on the RockIT programme, I have a more structured way of recruiting, using talent dynamics and tracking talent that I wasn’t aware of.
It is great that I’m looking at people here that I could see in the business in two to five years, and that’s a position I haven’t been in before.
Having this hiring process now is critical because cash is king, and you don’t want to waste money having the wrong person in the wrong role.
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What Else In The RockIT Programme Helped You?
Four key areas helped me. The Question and Answer calls are really effective, and being in the RockIT community for a start, with like-minded individuals who are in a similar position to yourself, having all the issues that I have and being able to ask all the RockIT coaches, including Nicky and Katy all the demanding questions!
Getting those answers from you helped me progress and overcome those difficult situations and roadblocks. In addition, the one-to-ones were invaluable.
I worked closely with Sally, who was brilliant with me. She helped me create my business strategy. But not only that, she challenged me to ensure that I delivered on what we agreed for every session.
I would never have developed that quickly if I wasn’t in this kind of program.
So one of the main reasons I achieved what I achieved in a relatively short time was because you guys, through these sessions, helped me set goals every month that I wanted to make sure that I delivered on because, ultimately, it was for my benefit.
I spent lots of focused time every week working on the business through the four sessions we had on the course.
What Final Words of Advice Would You Give to Someone Who Was In Your Situation Before Joining RockIT?
I highly recommend doing the course. And I think for those out there that think that they might question their ability to go through it and come out the other end, having achieved what they set out to achieve, do it.
It really is possible to achieve what you want when you follow the process.
Make sure you dedicate the time and work through each module in your own time, and with the help and support you get from the rest of the RockIT team, I think anyone can do it.
I’m not the brightest, and I had that doubt before starting the course, but you know what? I pleasantly surprised myself with what I was able to achieve in such a short space of time.
What I’ve achieved in the last six months, I haven’t reached anywhere near that going back 11 years; it’s been career-changing in that respect, and it’s made a massive difference.
If I had to pick one standout for me in terms of takeaway or positive from this experience, it is the mindset shift.
Learning to change your mindset and saying, you know, you can be bigger, you can be better, you need to have a plan, which you execute, is the biggest take from it for sure.
Antonio took a leap of faith and did the work and implemented the strategies we teach in the Rockit programme and consequently doubled his business in six months
If you would like to discuss how we can help you build your recruitment company to deliver the lifestyle you want, schedule a free profit Accelerator Session with one of our Scale Specialists.
We will help you clarify exactly what you need to do to double your sales and fill rates and increase your fees while you build a business that runs on autopilot.
Nicky and Katy