In our second installment of Dollars & Sense, Portfolio Creative’s Catherine Lang-Cline, Kristen Harris, and Jennifer Brown share the various ways they’ve cut costs and increased profits at the Columbus-based staffing and recruiting firm.
It’s worth noting that Portfolio Creative and its co-owners are no strangers to accolades. In 2010 and 2009, Inc. magazine included the firm on its list of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the nation.
Additionally, Portfolio Creative was a Stevie Award finalist (in the Best Overall Company of the Year – Service Firm, Up to 100 Employees category) in 2010, and Lang-Cline and Harris were honored at the 2011 Enterprising Women of the Year Awards (put on by Enterprising Women magazine) in March.
Plus, Portfolio Creative is moving to a space in Grandview that is more than double the size of its current office thanks to company growth. In other words, these women know what they’re talking about.
Without further ado, their words of wisdom:
On cutting unnecessary spending from your business budget:
“From our beginning as a two person start-up, we’ve always kept a careful eye on expenditures. This practice has served us well over the past five years by providing us with greater options and flexibility. We often talk about larger expenses as a group, as to not miss any important insights or opportunities.
“One example of our careful approach was our decision to take our time to find a new, larger office space for our ever-growing staff. We outgrew our current location a year ago, however we didn’t want to rush into a quick lease. We wanted a long-term solution that would best suit our needs and our clients’ needs over time. So until our new space is ready later this summer, we’ll continue to double up on offices and, if need be, meet with talent at our kitchen table.” −Kristen Harris
On using technology to eliminate expensive and outdated practices in your business:
“We discovered that we’re able to work with clients and talent in different markets through the use of technology such as videoconferencing, file sharing sites, LinkedIn, etc. We’re able to efficiently handle interviews, meetings, and portfolio reviews with a large and growing audience via social media rather than more expensive methods. Our business is very dependent upon relationships and reputation, and the ability to build those connections through social media is critical to our success.
“Our website was built in Squarespace, a user-friendly platform which allows us to make changes quickly and easily, eliminating the need for a webmaster. Our new job board and blog live here as well, so it’s important that we can maintain both on a regular basis.
For us, cost effective social media is instrumental in finding creative talent for our clients’ needs, offering career advice, promoting our community involvement, and informing people about trends and viewpoints important to the creative industry.” −Jennifer Brown, marketing manager
On streamlining their business model to refocus on the bottom line:
“When the economy took a hit in 2008, we didn’t cut back. In fact, we took a long hard look at our strategic growth plan and made the decision to explore other markets and add additional services. We added staff, which allowed us to focus more on the needs of our clients and talent to ensure each and every one gets the attention they deserve. We’re in the process of exploring new branches of service, ideas that became apparent to us because we are able to truly listen to what our clients need and want.” −Catherine Lang-Cline
“Our philosophy is to do what we do well and not over-extend ourselves. It’s a strategy that’s been important to our success and will continue to be.
“We’ve created a business model that is flexible and evolving. Every decision or new idea is measured against our mission− a belief that creative people, ideas, and companies are valuable and vital to the community and economy, and that everything we do is to help clients build, support, and maintain their creative workforce, and help creative talent find work in their field. This reduces distractions and helps identify opportunities that fit within core competencies.
“Every staff member, from owners to recruiters, marketing and operations people, has a voice in how the business runs. Each sees an opportunity or issue differently, and committed individuals lead to company-wide success.” −CLC
Which concept did you find most helpful?