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North West entrepreneur, Ian Wright, wants to disrupt traditional recruiting processes with his latest venture, NonExecutiveDirectors.com. The platform allows SMEs to access a free search and recruitment tool in order to source and hire high level talent from their sector. Here, Ian takes Bdaily behind the business.
What key challenges has your company recently faced?
Anyone who has founded and grown online business knows the level of investment of time required to build a successful business in this space and we are no different. The build and constant development of the site has proven arduous and intensive, especially as the demand for our service has been far beyond what we expected in the first few months of launch. With a truly national membership and over 1000+ unique daily searches happening on the site, we are constantly investing, improving and developing our offering to suit the needs of our members and the companies who use our service.
Secondly, the big challenge with our company is our mission to change the face and perception of the “grey haired, grey suited corporate governance arbiter” that is usually associated with the appointment of a Non-Executive Director. We believe that the Non-Executive should not be the the preserve of only the large PLC businesses who are appointing Non-Execs as statutory requirements; we work mainly with the SME market, the £1m to £100m turnover, privately owned business who are growing at pace or may have reached a plateaux in the development and it is here that our members add real value, bringing a “benefit of hindsight” which cannot be bought – oh and very often a “black book of contacts” which take decades to establish.
What is your biggest achievement over the past 12 months?
Quite simply building the offering in a market which has been too cosy for too long; disrupting a market which serves to penalise ambitious business owners for wishing to add extra talent to their Boards with our being hit with huge recruitment fees – often in the £20,000+ range. Our network is completely revolutionising the Non-Executive Director recruitment market as it makes finding and engaging NEDs completely free. New, disruptive models take time to catch on but ours ihas caught the imagination of both NEDs and companies as well as the advisors around the businesses that they advise. We rank Google positions 1 for most Non-Executive Director search terms naturally which is a huge achievement so early on and we are only getting stronger.
What is your most important focus for the coming year, and what do you hope to achieve?
The only focus I have is growing our network. The aim is to achieve 1000 Non-Executive Director members and be searched by over 1000 business owners/advisors by the close of year 1 and we are well on way to this having attracted 350 Non-Executives in the first 3 months of launch and 700 daily searches of our members, with very little marketing; our naturally SEO enhanced platform is ensuring this happens.
What excites you most about your industry and business?
The pure size and scale of our market is immense. The number of new and growing businesses is never ending as is the number of talented business professionals looking for Non-Executive Director careers. We are in a market with enormous demand but enormous resource to satisfy that demand. We have identified 6 other overseas territories and launched OutsideDirectors.net in the USA from a new York office in October 2013: this network is again growing rapidly.
What do you wish you’d known starting out?
With over ten years running search and selection firms I was well equipped. My insight into this market has been a long time in the making so I am well placed to execute a very efficient business model.
What will be the next “big thing’ in your industry and how do you plan to handle it?
I would not say that there is not “a next big thing” but one thing which makes me believe our model is only going to grow in demand is the ever tightening demand on improved Corporate Governance and the effective “slimming down” of the traditional Board of Directors; our offering gives flexible, cost effective options to CEOs looking for guidance and connections, especially around transactions. We have taken a market and turned it upside down; many would say it is a market where disruption was needed!