Alex Walton started his own Recruitment Business, Laboris Solutions, in January 2021. Six months on, his business is growing, thriving and it’s one of the best decisions he’s ever made.
Laboris Solutions offer employment solutions for permanent positions throughout the UK specialising in Construction, Engineering & Manufacturing. Alex’s business works in partnership with clients and candidates to offer bespoke solutions to suit a range of organisations and individuals.
Having completed a Sports and Exercise Science degree at Bournemouth University, I worked as a Personal Trainer. However, in 2011 the UK was hit with the recession and my client numbers halved. I decided to go to a recruitment consultancy to see if they could find me a new job. Whilst I was there, they offered me a trial at their agency the following week, I was successful, and they offered me a job!
I was working with hundreds of temps on a daily basis and it was a great sector to work in. After a few years, the Managing Director asked if I would consider setting up an Engineering Department. I did that for a couple of years and then moved over to an agency called Atlas Employment as a specialist Engineering Consultant, and then I became a Director. When I left there, we had built the business up to 17 employees, which was a good number.
However, with the growth of the business, I saw that my work-life balance was being affected.
I was working 11 or 12 hour days; it was relentless. I used to come home at 6 or 7 o’clock and fall asleep on the sofa. My wife gave me a bit of a shake-up and said, ‘you can’t carry on doing this!’
It was then that I decided it was time to set up Laboris Solutions. I knew that I could do quality work and get my family life back! My first son, Carter, was born in February last year and I wanted to commit more time to him.
For the first couple of months, I spent a lot of time networking and meeting different people from a range of businesses. I was going to around three or four networking events per week and getting my name and brand out there. It was a lot, but it introduced me to some great people, including Sarah from WeDo HR Support who has given me a lot of advice.
I would highly recommend going to networking events and meeting other people. Many people will be on the same journey as you and have lots of advice or words of encouragement.
It’s going well! I’ve realised that I don’t need to be confined to 9-5 office hours; candidates are quite happy to answer the phone in the morning or evening. I’m hitting my financial targets and KPI targets, which is great after six months. I work on an 80/20 rule: I put 80% of my efforts into 20% of what will be recurring business. It seems simple, but it does work.
I’m now working in a shared office, which is giving me more freedom and I work with other entrepreneurs. It gives me some social interaction and again it provides an extra networking opportunity.
Firstly, don’t be too hasty! I look back on the experience I have gained over years of working in agencies and it helped me to start up today. Many people think that they can do it after just a year or two in the industry, but the eight years I spent working in the roles I had gave me a great insight into how everything works.
Find a niche, especially if you’re going it alone! There are tons of generic recruiters out there, you need to stand out. My niche is construction and engineering, which means I can keep my pipeline tight. Otherwise, you end up as a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’!
Again, get out networking and meet different people! Yes, they might run a business that you don’t see as relevant to yours, but it’s all about the long game and getting to know people personally. I’ve got work through people in the room who have recommended me personally, and that’s what it’s all about. They are your marketing team!
Alex Walton is the owner of Laboris Solutions. Laboris offer employment solutions for permanent positions throughout the UK specialising in Construction, Engineering & Manufacturing