How to Grow Your Search Firm without Losing Focus

How to Grow Your Search Firm without Losing Focus

As talent access firm owners and leaders, we all aspire to grow our teams and companies to achieve long-term success. But with a finite amount of time and resources, it can be hard to grow without losing focus along the way. 

Today, search firms are employing a variety of tactics to drive growth. Some are turning inwards to cultivate their teams, culture, or partnerships with other firms. Others are widening their gaze to enhance their service offerings and talent pool. Recruiting firms are working to deliver better client and candidate experiences, and differentiating themselves with strategic branding and marketing. 

What growth strategies prove most successful for search firms? And how do you achieve growth without losing focus? We caught up with MRINetwork members Bryan Crigler, President of Winona Search Group, and Darwin Shurig, Founder and President of Shurig Solutions, Inc., for some tips.

3 Strategies Search Firms Can Use Right Now to Drive Growth

1. Grow Something Great Together

Bryan Crigler believes success lies in planting the seeds you want to see mature one day. As President of Winona Search Group, Crigler has seen tremendous growth in just two short years. Since 2019, Winona Search Group has increased its revenue by an average of 50 percent every year, and grown its team by 60 percent. With 25 years in the business, Winona Search Group is constantly evolving its strategy and mindset to address new challenges and prepare for the future.

How have they been able to realize growth during a global pandemic and economic downturn? Crigler attributes Winona Search Group’s success to its team, and revamping the company’s culture and policies to create an environment in which team members can thrive.

“Over the last few years, we’ve shifted to a model that relies more heavily on teamwork versus 360 recruiters,” Crigler said. “This interdependence fosters more teamwork, encourages decisions that are good for the team and company versus the individual, and creates an opportunity for everyone to feel like they are part of building something together.”

The new model reflects Winona Search Group’s desire to create autonomy and opportunity for people to succeed, allowing recruiters and managers to work in whatever manner is most productive and sustainable for them. Crigler notes the team approach has helped tremendously with locating and placing high-impact employees. With many eyes involved in projects, it ensures things don’t fall through the cracks.

In the past few years, Winona Search Group has increased compensation while also introducing profit sharing, unlimited vacation, and remote work opportunities. These efforts help team members enjoy the fruits of their labors, creating a win-win atmosphere that drives growth at the individual, team, client, and company levels.

“We have increased our revenue by an average of 50 percent every year, and our team has grown 60 percent. If people feel like they are a part of building something together, they will show up.” — Bryan Crigler, Winona Search Group

As candidate pools shrink and competition tightens worldwide, organizations are increasingly pressed to invest in their people. Attracting and retaining the best talent has become a competitive advantage and smart business play to boost the bottom line and create better client and customer experiences. The seeds Winona Search Group has planted continue to bloom with impressive results.

2. Finetune Your Recruiting Process for Better Hires

There’s no worse feeling for a candidate than to invest time, effort, and risk into a job that shuffles them around or fails to disclose vital information up front. Many search firms are helping organizations to close information gaps and elevate the hiring experience. Optimizing process and experience on both sides of the hiring equation is resulting in better relationships and candidate-client fits.

“We don’t want to waste anyone’s time. Our process focuses on value and efficiency, increasing success and decreasing chances of a mishire.” — Darwin Shurig, Shurig Solutions, Inc.

One such firm is Shurig Solutions, Inc., a global executive search firm focused on regulatory affairs, quality, and engineering in the medical industry. Shurig Solutions puts a great deal of effort into their recruiting operations, to increase efficiency and chances of success as they near the finish line. 

Darwin Shurig, Founder and President of Shurig Solutions, was highlighted in The American Entrepreneur Volume II: Navigating the Unexpected. The book compiles success stories in today’s uncertain economy while also providing mentorship for the next generation of entrepreneurs. Shurig believes that asking the question “why?” can help leaders and entrepreneurs to orient themselves and map out a plan for growth and success.

3. Create a Growth Strategy Focused on Your “Why”

With one simple question, Simon Sinek inspired entrepreneurs, business leaders, and employees to seek clarity and fulfillment in work and life. More important than what you do, or how you do it, is why you do it — your purpose, cause, and beliefs. Crigler and Shurig both point to “Why?” as an opportunity to be honest with yourself and develop a growth plan.

Shurig says he constantly asks people about their personal and professional “Why” to help accomplish shared goals. Encouraging people to dream big and clearly define what they want in life and work makes it easier to remove distractions and develop a roadmap to get there.

“Put your plan together, and then drive it. Measure it and ultimately execute on it to hit your goals.”  — Darwin Shurig, Shurig Solutions, Inc.

Crigler recommends asking yourself why your business exists, and why people would want to work with you. The answers can help you to discern if your expectations and current approach are achievable and sustainable, and if your business model can help people to realize their own goals while supporting yours.

Growing Pains & Lessons Learned 

Crigler and Shurig both acknowledge growth comes with growing pains and lessons learned. Asked what pain points Shurig has encountered, he jokes that the better question may be what growing pains he hasn’t encountered.

Shurig points out that different challenges come with different stages of growth. “Building a business — just making it — is hard,” he says. “Scaling is a whole additional challenge.” Shurig says MRINetwork has been helpful in navigating different challenges successfully as they arise, “As part of a franchise organization, we have infrastructure and direction on processes and what has worked in the past.”

“Scaling a company while working a desk can get a bit wild at times. The team approach helps tremendously. We hold each other accountable.” — Bryan Crigler, Winona Search Group

Crigler recommends embracing uncertainty and giving changes time to show results. For those considering culture and compensation adjustments, Crigler advises, “A gradual shift might be less intimidating for employees and less of a short-term revenue loss risk. The changes we implemented took a few months to ramp up and start working well, so there was some uncertainty in the beginning.” Above all, whatever approach you take, focusing on your goals, your team, and creating a better experience for others is good advice that we can all take to heart.