The Santander Small to Medium-Sized Business of the Year Finalist Focus: Jason Baker

Tell us about your business.

People Source was established in 2002 with a vision to build a business that stands apart from the typical recruitment agency. Our aim was to provide ethical, professional recruitment solutions to the IT industry and create a company that people would be excited and proud to be part of. Today, we are recognised amongst major consultancies as the ‘go to’ agency for niche technology talent and are preferred suppliers to a wide variety of clients across the UK and mainland Europe, from specialist SME’s to global organisations. Our success is founded upon our ability to uncover niche technology skills in a market that is fast progressing and constantly changing.

How did you fund your business?

Initially we received a small loan from the Princes Trust and a £5k bank loan. We reinvested profits to grow organically and never took any further funding. A confidential invoice discount facility was set up in 2007 to buy out a founder and this has been used again recently due to such high growth in the number of contractors we have working through us on client sites.

What is the biggest challenge SMEs are currently facing?
Recruiting skilled technology staff. There is a shortage of skills in the IT sector and SME’s struggle in finding the right talent.

Can you give any advice to others starting up businesses?
Look after your people – they are at the very core of your business and its success. Most companies are reliant on the efforts of others to be successful. Make your company stand out from the crowd as a great place to work and you will keep your best people and attract the top talent to come to work for you. Don’t be scared to do things differently, to empower your people and encourage their growth and development.

How do you foster innovation throughout your business?

We encourage everyone to treat their role as if it is their own business and this fosters a more entrepreneurial mind set. I love to hear new ideas and encourage my team to share their thoughts on ways in which we can improve. They speak to hundreds of different people everyday and know the market inside out, so they are able to keep on top of innovation and development in the IT industry. Empowering people will lead them to organically innovate and think ahead.

How are you managing the challenges associated with fast growth?

We have had to keep a closer eye on cash flow, although there’s plenty of headroom. The structure of our back office and finance operations has had to be strengthened and we have invested in training for our managers so they can take more responsibilities… practical issues like office space has become a challenge but we will be moving to a new site this year to facilitate our plans to double in size over the next 4 years.