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Northern Powerhouse European Union
Business Strategy

Grassroots Recruitment realise there’s always a spark before a drive


Grassroots Recruitment is an independent, owner-managed recruitment consultancy established in 2008. Specialising in sales, technical and office support professionals, they help great candidates find work with great employers in Stockport and across the North West.

In 2015, the company underwent a strategic overhaul. They took on a new director to re-evaluate their market position, relocated their offices, secured £200K funding through Lloyds Commercial Finance and diversified into the IT contract solutions sector.

Within 12 months Grassroots had achieved a record 650 per cent increase in turnover. They were appointed first-tier supplier in several major new client acquisitions and delivered a 10 per cent month-on-month increase in gross profit.

The challenge:

Caroline Patten, Grassroots Operations Director, explains: “Our strategy is entirely focused on becoming the best agency partner in Stockport – we’re wholeheartedly committed to advocating the local community as a great destination to employ exceptional candidates and be employed.”

As a result of a growing number of major clients, the Grassroots team was forced to focus solely on service delivery and account fulfilment. The company’s management were concerned the business was becoming reactive and recognised a need to step back from day-to-day operations in order to implement a more structured scale-up strategy and ensure a continued, sustainable pace of growth.

The solution:

In April 2017, Caroline was introduced to the newly launched Spark2Scale programme as an ideal candidate for the programme. Following a competitive application process, they were one of only seventeen to be appointed to the first cohort.

Spark2Scale is a support programme for aspiring scale-up businesses across Greater Manchester. It aims to assist established, fast-growing and ambitious companies like Grassroots that have already demonstrated significant growth – a spark – in scaling up their SME business. A dedicated team work with selected business leaders to analyse their current market proposition and develop a comprehensive strategic action plan. Running as a cohort of ‘One-to-Watch’ business leaders, the programme promotes collaboration between some of the fastest-growing companies based in the North West.

At the outset of the programme, Grassroots worked alongside Anthony Boe, one of the Hub’s growth advisors, to evaluate their market position and analyse existing revenue streams. During monthly peer-to-peer training sessions, they then utilised a business model canvas tool to identify the most efficient channels to deliver against their ambitious targets.

It soon became clear that the company’s biggest opportunity was to enhance their emerging reputation as Stockport’s go-to recruitment agency.

“We’re proud of the fact that all of our employees are based in the Stockport area and invested in the fabric of the community, personally as well as professionally,” continues Caroline. “Our clear intention is to concentrate on the local jobs market by leading the way as an ethical recruiter and helping great businesses in Stockport to grow.”

As part of the programme which runs over six months, the business took part in sessions around branding, PR, pitching and analytics. Caroline and other members of the management team also received bespoke one-to-one coaching.

As Doug Tracey, digital advisor, explains: “I’d first met Caroline at one of my Digital Workshops at Stockport Business and Innovation Centre as part of Stockport Digital Week.

“We went on to analyse Grassroots’ website in more detail – and identified a number of changes which would optimise it for Google, including on and off-page techniques.

“These changes mean the business now ranks highly for most of their key search terms, for example moving from 2nd or 3rd page to the 1st page of results in Google for ‘Recruitment Stockport’, which has had a considerable impact on lead generation.”

Since embarking on Spark2Scale, Grassroots has developed strategic partnerships with GDPR Training to offer data protection personnel, and Wilmslow-based Citation to offer employment law events.

The business has also been working with Alan Bambroffe, one of the Hub’s access to finance specialists, to secure asset finance and business funding that will build on momentum and ensure the company continues to scale-up at pace.

On the back of this support Grassroots will be moving to new larger office space at Regent House in July and is investing in new technology which includes a bespoke Applicant-Based Tracking (ABT) database that improves communication and engagement.

The company has also hired a marketing intern, Molly Marsden, sourced via the University of Salford’s Santander Internship programme, and will be adding two new fulltime consultants in the coming months.

“Our management team has benefited greatly from stepping back from the day-to-day to take a more strategic focus on business planning,” Caroline adds. “Beyond that, the whole team has witnessed a sea of change, a more energised approach and the results are obviously impressive.”

Anthony added: “The Spark2Scale programme is specifically designed to address these issues and aims to instil a positive, ambitious, and confident scale-up mindset.”

The business is on track to deliver over £1m turnover in 2017, with a proactive strategy, new partnerships, improved infrastructure and a solid platform in place to drive further growth. 

You can register your interest in our next Spark2Scale cohort here. Or if you'd like to learn more about how to make the most of digital and tech across your business, start your application on Enquire and Grow

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