One of our virtual tenants, Halo Personnel has celebrated 13 years in business this year. Owner, Lindsay Dalton, set up the recruitment agency in August 2009, during a recession. She got going with the support of the Genesis programme at The Business Village (then the BBIC). It offered a range of support services including advice, office space, and funding.
“I’d initially worked for an agency which gave me fantastic training in the industry. I left to work for another agency, but really wanted to set up on my own. One of my friends lent me the start-up capital I needed to make the move. And, within six months, I was bringing in enough work to pay him back.”
Lindsay’s first desk at The Business Village was in a shared office for the Genesis programme. It was a great environment and she found it helpful to be around other young business owners. Some of her co-workers even became clients as they grew.
The business support and low overheads helped Lindsay keep her prices low. It meant she could pick up work from other agencies as they closed with the recession. Then, as the recession eased, she began increasing her prices.
During her three years as a tenant at The Business Village, Lindsay moved offices three times. The first was around 12 months after starting, when she recruited an employee. Each of her subsequent moves were into bigger offices until, in 2012, she decided to relocate to Leeds.
“I wanted to become a virtual tenant when I left Barnsley 10 years ago. Keeping the address gave a professional front for the business. Even after all this time, I still feel part of The Business Village. The staff are so friendly and send out regular newsletters and tenant updates. It’s great for building my network and for lead generation.”
By this time, Halo Personnel had begun working with clients all over the country. But continuity of the Barnsley address was important, helping to show stability. Barnsley was also being used as a keyword for search engine optimisation. So, keeping the address was crucial for ongoing search engine results.
“The Business Village has aways cared and there’s a family feel about the place. Kevin Steel is great and gives so much help to businesses. It’s hard setting up a business on your own, whatever your age. So, it was nice to feel mentored when I first started my business.”
Since those early days in 2009, Halo Personnel has gone from strength to strength. And although 2020 was an anomaly, it led to some big changes in how the business operates.
“The last 13 years has seen a change in the job market. Right now, there are lots of job opportunities, so it’s currently candidate driven. It means we’re doing much more headhunting. And we’re educating clients more about the best salary levels to attract candidates. Our job is no longer just an agency. We’re consultants and an integral part of our clients’ businesses.”
Lindsay says their results speak for themselves. Staff placed with companies tend to stay and clients give good feedback. It’s increased the value she places on herself and the business. And this has given her the confidence to raise prices.
“We’re good at what we do and have loyal clients who give us repeat business. New clients often come to us via word of mouth, and we have 95 five-star reviews on Google.”
Like many start-up businesses, Lindsay would often work up to 50 hours a week in the early days. These days, she has different goals. Earning good money is important but she also wants to create a lifestyle and have balance in her life.
“I’m happy where we are. I have goals and am more confident about choosing the right clients to work with. What I’m looking for now is the right client, paying the right amount, and a manageable workload.”
Adding value to her clients’ businesses is important to Lindsay. She wants to build long-term relationships with clients who value her professional experience. In return, she expects to be paid a good market rate and have exclusivity.
“I started this business when I was just 25 years old. Since then, I’ve grown in confidence, both personally and professionally. I’ve trained my assistant Gemma Maloney and she’s amazing at her job. She’s now been with us for seven years. So, I know this can be replicated if we choose to grow the company in the future.
“I wouldn’t be in business now if it wasn’t for The Business Village. It was like a comfort blanket. Especially having other young business owners around me.
“I’d love to see that replicated again now. It’s important to provide these kinds of opportunities for young people in our society.”
To contact Halo Personnel:
Phone: 01226 249 590