Franchising success

Nine Twenty scores with post-Covid franchised recruitment strategy.

Innovative Scottish technical recruitment specialist Nine Twenty has transformed its business and operating model following last year’s coronavirus shutdown. A critical element in its recent development has been its highly successful switch to a franchised operation.

Whilst Covid-19 impacted on most of its customers in 2020, Nine Twenty’s new agility has resulted in an increase in productivity focused on making it Scotland’s leading science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) based technical recruiter. As a result, the Glasgow-based group of companies is now projecting turnover of £2.5 million for the year to December 2021.

Nine Twenty founder, Gordon Brown decided four years ago to focus on verticals – business niches where vendors serve a specific audience and their set of needs, rather than a traditional horizontal market model.

“I believed we needed to embrace the challenges of the shutdown to improve our business and shape a structure that can capitalise on the challenges we now face,” says Brown. “The recruitment market has changed. Client companies are in search of bespoke service and moving away from generalists to boutique firms like ours.

“We also adopted a franchise model, quite unusual in the recruitment sector, which appears to be paying off,” he adds. “Our model gives our trusted franchisees a platform which unleashes their entrepreneurial instincts and lets them flourish by encouraging them to trade, grow and build.

“Because they are in charge of their own businesses, and enjoy the rewards of their efforts, growth has been quite remarkable, with for example, Karen Stewart’s franchise establishing sub-franchises and employing seven people in her own sector.”

Karen, who is now Nine Twenty’s MD of engineering and manufacturing, said: “I had always wanted to run my own business and within two years I had achieved a turnover just over £1 million. Last year I was offered the opportunity to open another two franchise businesses, and I have now set up both an international and a supply chain divisions, with plans to open further divisions into England later this year.

“Nine Twenty has enabled me to the become the entrepreneur I always wanted to be. I have a passion for my sector and feel that the company’s innovative approach will allow us to become a STEM recruitment leader in 2021.

“Our mission is to be the trusted recruitment partner of choice for Scotland’s leading Internet of Things (IOT) and STEM-oriented best companies through creating positive, lasting, relationships and taking the risk element away from our clients.”

Gordon Brown also says Nine Twenty’s work from anywhere policy – a new flexible approach with no set working hours – has transformed their operations.

“We now give our team complete trust and empowerment, which improves their work life balance, family life and more importantly, keeps them safe,” he said.

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