The Four Pillars
Our four pillars – capital funding, operational systems & support, growth mentoring and succession & exit planning – are shaped to arm your business with the key business competencies, operational and commercial support that are crucial to translating recruitment excellence into entrepreneurial success.
It’s no secret that your start-up or early-stage recruitment business will need capital funding if it is to get off the ground quickly and move into a sustained growth phase.
For many, the temptation is to seek private investment – from friends, family or other connections – but this approach will not bring the support, advice and resources that are so vital to success. What is more, as your business matures, grows and expands, it will almost certainly require ongoing investment, which may be difficult to secure from private sources.
Meanwhile, private equity or angel investor funding often requires you to cede control, signing over a majority equity stake in return for investment – a model that can be off-putting and which will inevitably erode your returns when the time comes to sell.
At Four Pillars Group, we offer a third way. A way to secure all the funding, strategic advice and infrastructure you need to create and realise significant value, without giving up a majority stake in your business.
Our funding model is all about building a close working relationship with you. We invest in your business when you do – a co-risk approach that ensures our investment is a genuine partnership where both parties have a vested interest in you achieving your goals.
Crucially, this approach also reduces our overall risk exposure, which enables us to ask for a reduced equity stake in return. In fact, we believe the Four Pillars Group is the only dedicated investor in start-up and early stage recruitment businesses that does not demand a majority stake in return for capital funding.
Operations & Systems
When it comes to establishing and scaling any business, there is no substitute for talent, focus and sheer hard work. But maximising returns on all that inspiration and perspiration also means putting in place efficient, effective operational systems and support – from HR and people management, finance, and accounts, to marketing, technology and systems.
These are not simply back-office overheads. The right systems can be the beating heart of a business, underpinning sound financial management, seamless communication and collaboration, people development, performance management and brand building – all of which are critical to delivering consistent, sustainable growth.
However, for start-up and early stage recruitment businesses, acquiring the necessary people, skills and systems can be prohibitively expensive – leaving you with no option but to rely on inefficient, disjointed systems that can hamper growth.
An Affordable Platform for Growth
Four Pillars Group portfolio businesses have access to the tailored systems and processes they need to deliver sustained, controlled growth – drawing on an established global network, expert guidance from our leadership team and third-party suppliers. You will have access to support across:
- HR processes, policies and systems.
- Finance and accounting.
- Branding and marketing.
- Legal services.
- Office and recruitment technology solutions.
Crucially, our portfolio investment model will enable you to put efficient, scalable operations systems in place from the outset at a cost far below that of acquiring these systems independently.
Combined with the economies of scale that come with combined portfolio procurement, this model significantly reduces the cost of implementing the right operational systems.
Mentoring and personal development is arguably the single most important investment outcome for recruitment entrepreneurs.
The numbers speak for themselves. Up to 80% of recruitment start-ups fail in their first two years of trading, while around three-quarters of all recruitment firms employ fewer than 10 people and remain 100% owned and controlled by a founder – which means they deliver little or no value at exit.
All of this tells us two things. First, entrepreneurial recruitment professionals setting out with a clear strategic plan, and able to acquire the commercial skills they need to deliver it, will have a significant advantage when it comes to delivering sustained growth and maximising returns at exit.
And second, there is no time to learn on the job. Guidance, advice and mentoring from professionals who have ‘been there and done it’ is critical to avoiding the mistakes that derail so many start-ups.
Tailored, Targeted Support
We know every recruitment entrepreneur is different, with diverse skills and experience, which is why each of our partner firms can call on our senior team for exactly the mentoring and personal development support they need, when they need it.
That support can cover a wide range of areas, including:
- Business planning and strategy.
- Investment decision-making.
- Financial management and forecasting.
- Operational efficiency.
- Change management.
- Leadership and development.
- Talent acquisition and people management.
- Branding and marketing.
- Expansion and diversification.
Succession & Exit Planning
We want to work with ambitious, driven and exceptional recruitment professionals whose vision extends well beyond start-up.
These are the true entrepreneurs, who realise that starting a business is not an end in itself – a business is a vehicle through which to create and ultimately realise value through either partial or full equity sale.
But making that vision a reality requires careful planning, to map out the business journey over a clearly defined timescale and with one overarching goal in mind – to maximise value when the time comes to secure a sale and exit. That means doing more than scaling your business. It means shaping a strategy from the outset, working towards clear milestones in creating a business that will be attractive to investors.
Realise Maximum Value
At Four Pillars Group our approach is geared towards shared success, which ultimately means realising maximum equity value for all our business owners. Our portfolio approach to investment is at the heart of delivering against this goal. That is based on a clear understanding of private equity investment strategies, the opportunity profile these investors are interested in, and the characteristics that are vital to maximising equity valuations.
As a member of a portfolio of non-competing, growing recruitment companies, your business will be part of an attractive proposition for private equity investors:
- Diverse industry markets reduce concentration risk.
- Geographical spread increases potential for further growth after equity sale.
- Combined scale enhances equity value.
In the first instance, call or message us for a confidential exploratory discussion with our COO, Gareth Chambers.