If you’ve been reading our blog or subscribe to the Growth Path newsletter, you’ve probably heard the term ‘gateway product’ a lot. These are entry-level services that we use to build a relationship with a client and they work. One of Growth Path’s key gateway products is a business development plan.

Below is a case study about our work with MinePros, and what’s interesting is that our initial contract was simply to write a business development structure. But typical of gateway products, the relationship blossomed from there…

In Search of Focus
Brendan was concerned. As the head of MinePros, a three-person recruitment agency, Brendan was responsible for finding top-tier mining engineers and geoscientists for Canada’s mining industry. And while his company was certainly successful, Brendan worried that it wasn’t focused enough. He looked to Growth Path for help.

The Discovery Sessions
Growth Path’s first step was to talk to MinePros’ clients – Why did they use MinePros to recruit talent? Why Mine Pros over other recruitment agencies? At each company, the answer was clear: MinePros was valued because of its industry expertise, technical knowledge and excellent connections. In the niche of technical mining expertise, MinePros was king.

After MinePros understood its core value, it was able to develop services and marketing around it. Yet this discovery, while hugely important, was by no means the only one.

Changing Tactics
While researching, we found that recruiters operate using three distinct billing structures:
1. Retained search fees
2. Contingency fees
3. Deployment fees

Since its inception, MinePros worked exclusively for contingency fees, meaning that they were paid only if they found the right person. There was no cash upfront. This presented a challenge: Not only were they out of pocket if a search went south, but their cash flow was sporadic.

We suggested Brendan change tactics. With a deployment fee, Brendan would be paid upfront for a defined level of service and then a percentage of the new employee’s salary once the role was officially filled.

Brendan liked the idea, but he worried that his clients wouldn’t go for it. Wouldn’t they just look elsewhere if we started charging a deployment fee, he wondered?

The key was communicating the fee properly. When Brendan explained exactly what the deployment fee covered, for example, advertising and access to his targeted database – he discovered that his clients were supportive of the new billing structure. For such a valued expertise and service, it was worth it.

The outcome transformed MinesPros. Their ability to articulate their value proposition, focus on their niche within a niche, and maintain steady cash flow helped them to grow exponentially over the course of a year. Growth Path still meets with Brendan and his team once per month to hold him accountable to that original business development plan and make sure that the new marketing and billing structure continue to work for him.

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