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The Resilient Recruiter

Feb 17, 2022

Want to grow your recruitment business more rapidly? In today’s podcast, you’ll hear the remarkable story of how Ben Broughton managed to grow his start-up, Primis, to 21 staff members and revenue of £1.1 million in just five months. Primis specialises in recruitment in the field of technology and serves the UK and US market with a vision to expand into Europe soon. 

Ben started his career in recruitment in 2000 at SThree where he ran and set up offices across several locations before moving onto Premier Group in 2006. Here he spent 14 years as managing director, taking the company from 14 people to 110 and growing the revenue to £30 million and £10 million in Net Fee Income. 

While the core focus of Primis is the field of technology, the company and its success are centred around diversity and inclusion, giving everyone access to shares and putting people first. 

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [2:23] How to build a start-up to 21 staff in only five months earning £1.1 million NFI
  • [3:50] Aiming for 50 heads and £3.5 million NFI by year-end
  • [4:18] Touching on diversity and how it fits into Ben’s idea of success
  • [6:41] Ben’s vision to become the fastest-growing tech recruitment company in the UK in three years
  • [7:33] Access to shares - giving everyone a piece of the pie
  • [8:43] What are the success factors resulting in this exponential growth?
  • [10:25] Ben’s take on future-proofing the business
  • [11:00] Taking diversity and inclusion to a new level
  • [13:46] Offering clients multiple solutions depending on their needs
  • [17:49] Looking at such rapid scalability from a practical perspective
  • [22:00] Partnering with recruitment clients
  • [23:20] Having a personal relationship with your leaders is vital
  • [25:16] Sharing insights into breaking into the US market
  • [28:16] Employee Management Incentive Scheme (EMI) provides staff with global ownership
  • [32:55] The big lessons learned with scaling a business
  • [36:10] Balancing work and life as a start-up owner?
  • [39:50] Don’t micromanage - let people do what they do best
  • [46:30] People do business with people - it is vital to nurture client relationships
  • [49:00] The biggest challenge Ben had to navigate
  • [53:50] Find out what is next for Primis

Making The Most of Shareholding

“Give everybody access to shares in the business. I think for me personally, I currently have 80% of the organisation but if I end up with 60% and the team has the other 40 but we’re worth four times as much, then that is just a no brainer for me,” Ben explains that they want everyone to feel like they have a piece of the pie, to promote even greater success for all. One of the reasons why Ben left the Premier group was because he didn’t have enough control to make the changes he desired. Thus, shareholding is something that is not only important to him on a personal level but also as a vital part of his success. Coupled with having the right people on board, success comes much easier.  Ben states that ownership is key to creating a space where staff feels they belong and the outcome is that they deliver even greater results.

Getting The Right Practical Aspects In Place To Obtain Such Rapid Growth 

When you are starting a business to grow it at a rapid pace, it does require that you have certain measures in place to ensure that everything happens at a certain pace. How did Ben do this? 

  • As he has been in the industry for quite some time, he had access to a strong network.
  • He trusts his team of managers with whom he has relationships outside the office too.
  • They empower these managers to operate more independently and this helps the growth of the business. 
  • Primis partnered with two rec-to-rec partners
  • The team is launching their training academy to ensure recruits get the proper training to hit the ground running.
  • They are creating an environment of inclusion and diversity 
  • When it comes to clients, they offer several service options
  • They ensured financial backing in advance.

What Are The Mistakes Ben Has Made Along the Way

As a large part of Ben’s success at Premier Group was the large expansion he delivered on, taking the recruitment team from 14 to 110 people, he can share some lessons learned. The following are all things he mentions to ensure rapid expansion

  • Take care to ensure work/life balance
  • Don’t micromanage your team
  • Clients are your partners and it is vital to build personal relationships

These and many other insights that Ben brings to the podcast can help you too to speed up the growth of your business. 

Our Sponsors

This podcast is proudly sponsored by i-intro®. 

i-intro® is an end-to-end retained recruitment platform. Our technology and methodology allow recruiters to differentiate themselves from the competition, win more retained business, bigger fees and increase their billings. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter for a 25% discount. Book your free, no-obligation consultation here: 

Ben Broughton Bio and Contact Info 

Ben’s career in recruitment started in 2000 when he joined the team of SThree. Here his primary responsibility was to set up and run offices for the company across Birmingham, Leeds and Reading. 

By 2006, he moved on to Premier Group. After successfully expanding the contract function of the business he continued to open offices for the Premier brand in Manchester, London, Birmingham, New York and Austin. During his 14 years as managing director, he led the company to expand from 14 people to 110, reaching revenue of more than £30 million and £10 million NFI. 

As founder of Primis, Ben scaled the business to 21 employees since September 2021. Ben’s mission is to grow the Primis brand into a leading technology-focused recruitment business that puts people first. 

People and Resources Mentioned

Connect with Mark Whitby

  • How Recruiters Can Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, with Chikere Igbokwe, Ep #102
  • How to Build a High-Performance Sales Team and Skyrocket Your Growth, with Ian Moyse, Ep #83


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