Role and company:CEO, ReferStar
Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric):Since we are a start-up, we aren’t really in a position to report on impressive revenue figures. What I can say is that we have nearly 200 clients using our platform, and that figure is up from less than 50 in July, so we are gaining momentum.
Growth forecast for the next three years:Our forecast is to triple our revenue in the next three years.
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:ReferStar is a marketplace that connects employers with referrers, not candidates. The Referrers, in exchange for a fee, reach into qualified pools of potential candidates, many of them passive, and seek out a ‘best match.’ With gamification and creative marketing, we can help our enterprise clients carry out scalable global talent acquisition campaigns that ripple throughout the online world and deliver a significantly reduced cost per hire result.
What’s the big vision for your business?Our big vision is to be the eBay of referral recruitment, by creating a platform that connects employers and referrers. This marketplace will allow employers to source better talent faster and cheaper, as new recruits are referred to each role by an expert and vetting is automatically built into the process.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:Presently we are operating in Europe and North America, although our sales focus is within theUK and US. In the near future, we will expand sales efforts to include the rest of Europe and South America, and then we can remove borders completely.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:I haven’t had any large setbacks in my career, but I do feel that I have left business on the table, and by that I mean that I didn’t do my best. I became complacent and buried my head in the sand, rather than address issues head on. I now know that the ‘Status quo’ option is well and truly gone.
What makes you mad in business today?People who say they are available to help, but they really aren’t. I think we can apply that sentence to any number of offers made public to small businesses, but it’s frequently a wild goose chase and a horrible waste of valuable time.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?The recruitment business will undergo significant change in the next three to five years. Social media ‘connectedness’ is on the rise. Any person will be able to refer a candidate as an expert in his or her field, and as a result of this ‘hyper’ connectivity identifying the right candidates will be more efficient and deliver better results. Miss-hires cost money, time and hardship. Delivering a smaller group of candidates onboard and reducing the number of miss-hires will significantly streamline recruitment efforts and drive costs down.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?For a start-up, access to funding is difficult. You need to have a well-rounded team, a great track record, evidence of revenue traction and have a working product to be eligible for funding. A great many ideas don’t tick all of those boxes and go under before ever getting off the ground. However, innovation is getting funded, if a product is truly innovative and the leaders are passionate enough then generally speaking, funding is available.
How would others describe your leadership style?Visionary and impatient. The world moves quickly and we do not have the luxury of time. I am constantly demanding enhancements and greater functionality, bigger ideas and faster turnaround – my team, I’m sure, has a love/hate relationship with me.
Your biggest personal extravagance?It would have to be trekking to Mount Everest base camp – an unforgettable experience.
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:Pay more attention to entrepreneurs and force big business to get involved in vetting start-ups. Fund a program that matches / partners start-ups with large enterprises and forces enterprise to nurture indigenous companies, giving them a potential reference site. If the company has a good product and can deliver it, it will prosper quickly with this small push forward. By Shané Schutte
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