Talent Connect Case Study

Talent Connect Case Study

By Tim Sternberg
5 Min Read

The Challenge

When we first met with Talent Connect, they already had a successful recruitment business. However, they were struggling to grow beyond their existing team to seize client opportunities and build sustainable, higher business value. In particular:

  • The business was overdependent on its founder, preventing her from taking time out from the business.
  • Conversely, there were no clear pathways to leadership for its best people, which also  increased retention risks.
  • There was a dilemma about where to grow, how to deploy new consultants and how to best maintain its gross margins across temporary placements.


What We Discovered

  • Talent Connect had strong overall financial results, however they were mostly attributable to the founder and two key employees.
  • Many previously won clients had “lapsed” due to consultants being at full capacity. This provided an opportunity to reconnect with them and gain scale at minimal cost of customer acquisition.
  • Consultants’ desk profiles had been created through the organic transfer of accounts, which created inefficiency and prevented competitive advantage based on industry specialisation.
  • While consultants were personally loyal to the founder, career development and succession planning gaps would inevitably lead to critical retention risks.
  • It had been challenging to hire consultants that would suit the high performance ethos and the values of the business.


How We Solved Talent Connect’s Problems

As the business was already at full capacity, working under its existing desk models, much of our initial “top down” solution focused on designing the foundations for gradual change and reducing the risks of growth:

  • Strategic Plan: We confirmed the goals, opportunities and risks of the business and recommended prioritised actions for the next 12 months.
  • Market & Desk Analysis: We defined market opportunities based on the existing client spread and undertook an external market analysis to define best practice industry verticals and provide the consultants with a more efficient role focus.
  • Consultant Reviews: We ran 1-2-1 engagement interviews with all consultants to reduce retention risks and map career development potential and opportunities.
  • Organisational Structure & Industry Vertical Teams: We defined the optimal structure to seize the identified market and desk opportunities, which also identified gaps and priorities for hiring new consultants and developing potential leaders.  This included dividing up clients across better integrated teams to create efficient industry verticals.
  • Ongoing Planning and Monitoring: We introduced best practice tools and techniques to plan and manage performance.
  • Commercial Support: We provided advice regarding employee and commercial contracts, financial reporting and forecasting, remuneration models and HR issues.

As our engagement progressed the foundations of the business became more secure and our work could focus more on coaching the founder on implementing these plans and helping her deal with new risks and opportunities in the most effective and efficient way.


What We Delivered

Comparing the current financial year to date run rates with the period when we designed our initial solutions:

  • Revenue: 36% Higher
  • Gross Margin: 61% Higher
  • Gross Margin Percentage: 5% Higher
  • EBITDA: 71% Higher, despite 200% growth in people (to reduce risks and enable further growth)

In addition to these financial gains, the following outcomes have been achieved:

  • The founder is now able to regularly step away from the business and has taken up her long term ambition of moving back to the country.
  • Both key employees have been retained and developed.
  • Three industry vertical teams have been created, strengthening the business’s competitive advantages, and the systems are in place to efficiently add new consultants and make them more likely to succeed.
  • Capacity has been created for further sustainable growth and gross margin that can “drop to the bottom line”, leveraging fixed business costs even more.
  • The business is demonstrably more valuable and is even more highly regarded in the marketplace.


“Despite having a very successful business, I had reached a plateau with growth. After 10 years in business, I had tried different business consultants and none of them truly understood my business and added value. Tim and Matt got my business instantly and I have now seen sustainable growth and value added to my business since their engagement. I would highly recommend them to anyone who has reached a plateau in growth.”

Felicity Barlow, Founder, Talent Connect

Tim Sternberg

Tim Sternberg

Tim is an expert in sales, marketing, recruitment and leadership with a particular flair for helping his SME...

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