3Search update... our first year
3Search reflects on lessons learned, and future plans, as we celebrate our first birthday.
So we’re all a little heavier (a combined four and a half stone in fact – not pointing any fingers), a little greyer haired, and a lot more sleep deprived, but 3Search has successfully emerged from its first full year not just alive, but thriving.
In the last 12-months we’ve gone from three founding partners with a business idea and a huge dose of ambition to an established business with seven staff (and growing), a central London office, a loyal following of thousands on social media and our blog, and a rapidly growing client base.
We knew when we started the business that the first few years would be hard work. But, as we wrote in our nine-month update, the key has been working with people we like and doing work we love.
While we’ve certainly learned a lot more about each other in those extra office hours – from niche musical tastes (Craig David, Andy… really?) to curious eating habits (steak for breakfast, Joe?) – we stayed sane because we genuinely get along and enjoy solving our clients’ hiring pains by connecting them with the talented professionals they need to succeed.
So – 12 months into the 3Search project – what lessons have we learned, and where do we see things going in the next year?
#1 Have a business plan… and stick with it
Having a clear mission and vision for the future is crucial. What we planned in those first weeks has largely become a reality. Ultimately, we’ve built a client-side marketing and digital recruitment agency with sector specialism in the areas we know best.
We’ve tried our utmost to stand by our founding vision to deliver top-notch customer service, to hit the targets we set ourselves in those early days, and to build the business as we first proposed. Of course, some things change, and some innovation is necessary – but a clear mission and vision are crucial so that from day one you can act like the business you know you want to become.
#2 Invest in your website and infrastructure
One of the mistakes we made, in those very early cash-strapped days, was a failure to invest the necessary money in our website and the tech behind it. Our first website looked good, but didn’t meet our needs – something we’ve now fixed (check out our new website! www.3Search.co.uk), but only with additional cost and energy. It is worth investing upfront to avoid hiccups. We even spent one Bank Holiday weekend dealing with a website hack! We really have seen it all!
#3 Don’t be afraid to outsource
As the leaders of an early stage company our focus has been on getting our product perfect; that is, providing the high-quality recruitment service our clients expect. That means that we’ve had to find people we trust to take on some of the other vital business tasks.
I’m not sure where we’d be without our accountant Joe David (of DSAccountancy) and our marketing guru Richard Heinrich. We’ve seen first-hand how content marketing can impact the bottom line, directly winning business from regular blogging: http://3search.co.uk/blog/, over 30,000 blog visitors, and a social media following that exceeds 6,000. Finding people like this, who have the different skills that we need and whom we can trust is like having an additional founding partner at times.
#4 Hire wisely
In a people-focused business, it is absolutely vital that you hire well – though it isn’t easily done! We knew from the beginning that we wanted to build a team of sector specialists, with real expertise and great networks, who could add real value to our clients.
We met with many people: some weren’t right for us and we weren’t right for some. When I look around the office as I write this, I am really pleased with the calibre of individuals who have chosen and feel utterly confident that our careful hiring will pay dividends in accelerating their careers and taking 3Search to the next level.
#5 Remember to enjoy it
Things move very quickly when you’re starting a new business. Just a year ago we were just three guys with an idea, putting together a business plan – we’ll probably never have that complete freedom again! In hindsight, it was a great period and one that I wish I had savoured a bit more rather than thinking about the uncertainty that lay ahead at the time! It truly is an enriching experience to start your own business so if you get the chance make sure you enjoy the journey.
The next 12 months will see 3Search entering ‘phase two’ of our development. We’ve established we can do it, and now it’s about looking forward and not backwards! The aim is to continue to grow the team. We will continue to expand the team with consultants who are sector specialists and who we feel can hit the ground running and use their networks of candidates and clients, all the while sticking by our values of high service and integrity.
As we grow the team to meet increased demand we’ll also look to move from our current office to a bigger space. As we wrote in May, though, the focus is on manageable growth. As we expand and take on more clients we’ll have a constant eye on our mission to provide the highest quality service. We won’t cut corners in the pursuit of growth because we want to build a business that we’re genuinely proud of.
Thanks to everyone who has helped and supported us over the last 12 months! If you like the sound of the agency we’re building at 3Search, why not work with us? Check out our new website www.3search.co.uk or get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a discussion.