How to Build a 7-Figure Search Firm with a Small Virtual Team, with Rob Bowerman, Ep #32

When I ask recruiting and search firm owners, “what is your Vision for your business?” the answer is often a variation on the following theme. They tell me, “Mark, I don’t want to build a large firm with hundreds of employees and huge overheads.  I’d much rather have a small, high-performing team so we can generate 7-figures while keeping overheads low and staff management issues to a minimum.”  

Of course, that’s easier said than done.  Few in our industry manage to make the leap from 6-figure solo practitioner to the 7-figure firm owner.  After all, hiring and managing remote employees can be a real challenge.  For many, the additional hassles and headaches involved are not worth the effort.  Yet if you get it right, the rewards are obvious.  How do you set things up so the business runs like a well-oiled machine?

To answer that question, I invited Rob Bowerman to share his experiences as someone who’s successfully made that journey.  In this episode, Rob talks about his transition from being an executive recruiter to building his own recruitment team. Rob shares his best practices and as well as the hurdles he’s faced, giving practical insights on several key business issues, from managing your workload to managing staff turnover. 

Rob started The Bowerman Group (TBG) in 2009 after having been a successful Executive Recruiter since 1994. TBG serves the retail industry, particularly specialty on luxury brands, and has developed long-standing relationships with many respected American and European designer apparel, accessory, jewelry, and home furnishing companies. Rob currently serves as the President of The Pinnacle Society, the premier consortium of industry-leading recruiters in North America.

Hear an exciting take on workload management: The formula on when to outsource a certain task. Hear it from Rob Bowerman, current President of the Pinnacle Society, in this episode of #TheResilientRecruiter! #recruitment #recruiter #training… Click To Tweet

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [1:33] Rob talks about the Pinnacle Society and why he got involved
  • [9:30] How the Bowerman Group is dealing with the current challenges brought about by the pandemic.
  • [13:46] Lessons learned from starting his firm in 2009 during a recession.
  • [21:26] Two critical elements of managing a team remotely.
  • [26:20] Should you stay as a solo practitioner or should you build your own team? Listen to Rob’s great career advice.
  • [28:40] Managing your workload – the formula for when to outsource certain tasks.
  • [32:41] How to avoid hiring mistakes and high staff turnover – a common challenge faced by the many recruitment business owners
  • [35:55] Rob shares his greatest achievements and biggest hurdles.

Effectively Managing a Small Virtual Team

Even before the pandemic, Rob has been successfully running a small virtual team. When discussing best practices on managing a team virtually, he gave two key pointers: (1) Stay connected as a team, (2) Stay involved and support them as you can. 

“It’s daily setting out what are your goals for the day, and on Monday what your goals for the week, and holding people accountable for that. So I think honestly that morning time together is the most important function. Like everyone sharing, “this is what I’m doing,” “this is my focus,” “this is where I need support,” And how is this affecting the team relationship? “We actually only physically see each other, even in good times, three or four times a year but we feel like we see each other every day.”

The Formula for Deciding When to Outsource Certain Tasks

Managing a small recruitment team can also be daunting. As a business owner, you have to run the company, run your desk, and you are also a manager – you have to do training, coaching, on top of process management. How should you juggle all those responsibilities? Rob shared a very practical formula. 

“Figure out first and foremost what you can outsource… If you do the simple math… look at your annual earnings, what you want it to be. Divide it to calculate your hourly rate. Say that comes out to be $400. Then, anything that’s not worth $400 an hour, somebody else should be doing that.”

How do you effectively manage a small virtual team and consistently hit seven-figures? ear it from Rob Bowerman, current President of the Pinnacle Society, in this episode of #TheResilientRecruiter! #recruitment #recruiter #training #coaching Click To Tweet

Rob Bowerman Bio and Contact Info

Rob started The Bowerman Group in 2009 after having been a successful Executive Recruiter since 1994.  He discovered his passion for Search following a career in merchandising and shares his love for the industry with his team, clients, and candidates every day.

Carving out a unique niche that focused on specialty and luxe brands, he has developed long-standing relationships with many respected American and European designer apparel, accessory, jewelry, and home furnishing companies.  Rob had a vision of creating a boutique firm that matched the unique profile of this niche—excellence, brand heritage, and an unwavering dedication to quality.   This vision has manifested itself into a dynamic group that is experiencing consistent year-over-year increases in successfully completed searches within TBG’s unique niche.

Rob currently serves as the President of The Pinnacle Society, the premier consortium of industry-leading recruiters in North America.  He is proud of his association with this group of the “best and brightest” within the search profession as well as honored to be the only “retail guy” in the organization.

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