BIG LESSONS FROM A LEAP OF FAITH
6 November 2015, Written by Karen Rickert
AFTER learning a valuable lesson in rapid growth, Steve Scanlan managed to bring Recon Solutions back from the brink of closure and challenge the big players in the human resources industry.
Fed up with being treated as a dollar sign, Scanlan (pictured right) left his state general manager position to start his own recruitment and consulting firm in 2013.
Recon Solutions sources talent from its database of contacts and matches people to the needs of clients. The Brisbane-based firm also offers IT and business consulting to improve performance.
Consultants manage a wide range of specialist areas, including IT, marketing, accounting, construction, mining and communications.
With a growing family, Scanlan says leaving a stable job to pursue his own company was the 'scariest thing' he's ever done.
"I saw a gap in the market where I was always seen as a dollar value instead of a person," Scanlan says.
"Brisbane is such a small place. We actively work on building our networks and meeting with people, so when we do get a role we automatically know who to place.
"A massive point of difference with us is we don't advertise; we don't have to chase people because we already have candidates in the marketplace looking for work and they trust us.
"People don't want to work with the big players any more. They're happy working with small providers like us who deliver service and quality."
Scanlan's leap of faith paid off with Recon Solutions turning over strong profits each month leading to the opening of an interstate office. But early last year, the business took a dip and almost had to close its doors.
"We were doing what we thought were really good figures and I didn't really have a grasp of what I owed the tax man or what bills were to come," Scanlan says.
"We grew to about 15 people and opened an office in Sydney off the back of decent results, thinking it would continue to grow.
"We had a massive slump and because my focus was turned away from Brisbane, the office just ran straight into the ground and we lost considerable money."
Scanlan says he learnt a massive lesson in 'having eyes bigger than your belly', buying out his business partner and scaling back the team to get back on track.
Growth has accelerated once more, with Recon forecasting a 269 per cent lift in revenue this financial year based on current contracts not accounting for new business.
The firm is the preferred supplier of Credit Union Australia, Bank of Queensland, QIC and Morgans, as well as some government departments.
Scanlan says the growth has been driven by referrals, with Recon's reputation for honesty resonating with clients.
"A lot of people aren't honest and upfront about the costs involved, but we're transparent," he says.
"I often send my clients a calculator to enter the figures, so they can see exactly how much it costs me to take that person on board.
"Then we come to an agreement in rates and everyone wins. We always try to come in under budget with them, just by being transparent.
"I had a client say to me the other day, 'I want you to put your rate up because you're not making enough' that's the perfect position to be in."
Scanlan hopes to ultimately open a Recon office in every major city across Australia, not necessarily to be the biggest provider but to offer the best service. The US is also on the cards, with Scanlan making a few trips there this year to explore opportunities.