BEWARE – IT’S A 5 MINUTE READ!

Hi, I’m Louis. Nice to meet you. I’m the Co-founder of COLLABZ.

If you are a COLLABZ current or potential:

– client
– employee
– investor
– Stakeholder
– supplier
– or even competitor

I guess you may be interested to know more about the person who runs the company.

Sure, my ultimate goal is to work when I want, where I want and with who I want. This is about enjoying business and mastering work/life balance, not financially driven.

At this point people usually put a philosophical quote but I’m not very good with words. The best I’ve got is ‘we work with people, not for them’. That applies to customers and work colleagues. 

if I am honest, I didn’t even want a “Meet the Founder” page.

It all feels a little narcissistic and a bad message to the teams I work with. However, my advisors and marketing agency made it clear people buy people. it’s important to lay it all out here, so we are all literally on the same page.

The structure of this piece will initially be focused on giving you a picture of who I am. Not the full picture, but enough to make an educated decision about reading on about the COLLABZ journey. Or not.

QUALITY:

Today, quality is no longer defined merely by price points or a long, storied history. Quality today means being personal, being different, being functional, being flexible, and being sensibly priced for the scale of the problem you’re solving.

PRODUCTIVITY:

I’m always conscious of my productivity. This didn’t come naturally to me, it’s something I’ve worked hard on. Although I’m getting into social media for business purposes (Linkedin), I rarely ‘do’ social media personally, I find it hard. I don’t play computer/mobile games, watch reality shows or general news as they all feel an unnecessary drain on what is actually important to me.

When you analyse your Iphone usage – you may decide to stop going on instagram, following Love Island people as well.

HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS:

I am not the most intelligent person but I do have a history of building super bright teams.

In my early career, I was far more sales orientated so used to believe you can solve most problems with people. True…..but as things progress career wise, you become more operationally savvy and switch to loving the creation and refining of processes.

To build successful teams my belief is you cant have one without the other and the external conditions have to be right. High performance definitely comes from having the right people (attitude), with the right skills, BUT they need to be executing on a clear strategy and solving a big enough market or business problem.

REPUTATION:

I took to heart Warren Buffett’s maxim “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it” when I first started reading business books, and have lived by it ever since.

FINANCIAL APPROACH:

Over time I’ve developed a much tighter approach to my finances. Maybe because I’ve less disposable income than ever before or maybe because material things mean very little to me now. For me life is less about buying the latest cars or luxury items, it’s more about reinvesting everything to achieve more meaningful goals and create better experiences, improving your situation. This holds true for both my personal and business finances.

SPORT & HEALTH:

I’ve been blessed with friends and family who are fairly active and tend to look after their well-being, so this aspect of life comes easily to me. I’m a big lover of sports (Football, Rugby, Golf) and try to get a minimum of 5 hours intense exercise in a week, but would love to create a lifestyle where I could do more.

I think I’m classed as a flexitarian which means my primary diet is vegetarian but I eat meat. WTF. Ha.

WORK/LIFE BALANCING ACT:

This is a tough one and if anyone has the answers, please get in touch. I love my family and friends, but I’m also lucky enough to love work so I’m constantly trying to find the right balance.

With today’s connectivity, the lines between work and life are becoming blurred and I believe it will get even more extreme. I’m creating a business with this in mind and will hopefully make it easier for people to manage these new pressures. I think it’s important for all leaders to consider this.

I’m personally experimenting working and resting in more focused sprints and removing multitasking from the routine. It’s so important to be committed and present at all times. If it’s a work task, be 100% in. If it’s with my wife and daughter, be 100% in.

LEARNING:

I really enjoy learning which has served me well as I’m usually the dumbest person in the room. That is also a sign of the kind of rooms I mix in these days. 

My view is I don’t want to learn for learning’s sake, I mostly study work-related stuff, rather than general academic knowledge so I can apply and experiment in the real world.

I know it’s cheating but I’m much more of a blinkist and podcast guy with the odd audiobook. I’m more into hearing real people telling their stories and giving practical advice, rather than the abundance of self help theorists out there.

Current/Favourite Listens/Reads: 

Dolly Parton’s America (surprisingly good)

Diary of a CEO – Steven Bartlett (podcast)

The Talent Cast – James Ellis (podcast)

21st Century HR – Lars Schmidt (podcast)

The Ed Mylett Show (podcast)

The RAG Podcast

Recruiting Brainfood (podcast & newsletter)

SourceCon – (Newsletter)

The Chad & Cheese Podcast

Masters of Scale – Reid Hoffman (podcast)

The Talent Fix – Tim Sackett (Book)

Exceptional Talent – Matt Alder (Book)

The Robot Proof Recruiter – Katrina Collier (Book)

Employer Branding for Dummies – Lars Schmidt (book)

COLLABZ – THE BACKGROUND

I’m a recovering corporate guy keeping the work passion alive by showing SME’s how to shift from prey to poachers of talent without spending a fortune with agencies and advertisers.

The idea had been in my head for a while and despite having a young family, a chorus of doubters and a mortgage to pay I decided to take the leap in late 2019 and formed Collabz from scratch.

The inspiration was that after a decade of doing this for big employers, I decided I had to address something that didn’t sit well with me:

The rapidly growing disadvantage that small companies faced in attracting top talent.

It simply isn’t a level playing field…….yet.

THE JOURNEY SO FAR

Initially I was going to consult as an independent and build out further clients and opportunities from there.

But I luckily had the self-awareness to realise that I wanted a business and not a job.  Besides I love building meaningful relationships with colleagues and bouncing ideas around which simply wouldn’t happen regularly as an individual consultant.

So, I needed a business and began to obsessively research the RPO space, recruitment technology providers and the SME ecosystem.

My initial business plan made great sense on paper but through market conversations and iterating with trusted advisors we pivoted quickly.  And then came a breakthrough….

Funding.

I was all in with my own funds and financially stable but the fact that a talented private investor believed in me and the vision early meant we could build the business the right way.

I was able to attract the top people in the industry, build a market leading tech stack for the benefit of our clients and make sure that I cut no corners in creating a business that represented the change we wanted to see.

GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN

We are creators, educators and experience makers.

One thing I am very proud of is the fact that it has become a core part of the character of Collabz to go against the grain.  To be a challenger to traditional thinking and not constrained by outdated models and approaches.

This has played out in several ways in forming and building the business including:

Believing in our intuition

Removing the corporate façade and polish to offer transparency

Build and market a bespoke offering for SME’s that big business had written off as “small fry”

And by changing the conversation on talent and the recruitment industry in general.

This rebellious streak and belief in our purpose keeps us authentic and customer centric.  It also means that we are a genuinely values driven organisation – not just one that throws some values up on the wall that stand for nothing.

Even in calling our craziness COLLABZ we again went against the grain. Why? Collaboration is critical to our model, but we wanted to step away from the corporate jargon and be as authentic as possible. As slang for ‘Collaboration’, COLLABZ felt right.

THE MARKET

Whilst the SME space is thriving, it’s undeniably a market where companies are under a lot of cost pressure. They haven’t got the brand or salaries of the larger players to attract talent, but they need to hire well to grow.  Many are being out gunned.

Understandably, its not sustainable to rely on expensive agencies who typically offer little loyalty, consistency or depth and the big RPO players are simply not interested.

We’re building our proposition with these challenges in mind, specifically focused on the needs of SME’s sized business who are open to looking at new ways of working, and consequently seeing outstanding results. We can’t wait to make our impact felt in your business.

The direct sourcing/RPO model is the fastest growing staffing service in Europe and we see a huge opportunity to bring this sophistication to the SME businesses who arguably need it most.

The theory behind the COLLABZ model is glaringly simple. None of our customers could afford to build their own 21st century talent function to achieve hiring success in isolation.

Yet they can each afford their timeshare of our incredible team and resources to push their talent strategy forward and compete in the tight employment market.

In short we are stronger together.

So lets do this.

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