Harbourne Associates – Star Business of the Month – May 2014

My name is Chris Stephens, Director of Harbourne Associates which I started in March 2013 set up from a bedroom in my parents’ house. I’m a 28 year old, innovative, passionate individual with a drive to change the perception and Harbourne Associates Logomethodologies used in the current recruitment marketplace. I felt that not enough was being done to really dig deep and source top talent for corporates in the UK. Many opportunities were being missed by market leading clients due to pushy salespeople looking to earn commission and not provide a value adding service that employers are really looking for.

I had been in recruitment for 8 years and before that in various sales positions but always had a vision of a customer service driven approach built on delivering business growth for my clients. I had to persuade my parents to support me and invest some start-up money but thanks to this I am now running a business of seven people and working out of an office in Tunbridge Wells. The business is currently on track to turnover sales of £1m in 2016.

Recruitment dates back to the early 1900s. There was no Internet, Facebook or Jobsites. It was about learning your clients’ culture, environment and requirements thoroughly and spending time learning about competitors, neighbours and forward thinking businesses then networking intensely to track down top performers. Over time this entire concept has been lost and agencies feel it is OK to charge a huge sum of money for a very straightforward search on an internet job board – Monster or similar.

Chris Stephens - Harbourne Associates

Today’s world introduces so many more candidate attraction methods and Harbourne Associates utilises them in order to find, contact and manage key professionals. By working hard and being thorough, I am developing a new age service using an up to date, tailored approach in order to provide a “stand out” service.

Harbourne Associates is developing into a well-known specialist Recruitment Consultancy focusing its attention on the Sales, Marketing and Management sectors. We work with a large number of key industries including retail development, premium brands, food service, high-end fashion, hair and beauty, drinks and a developing area in industrial, manufacturing, construction and engineering markets. We have a highly experienced Executive Search Team that work across a wide range of industries within a developing client base. (Senior Appointments into the corporate marketplace).The team based in Tunbridge Wells is quickly developing and the company is growing month by month. Proven testimonials from Blue-chip clients back up the service we provide and how we can truly stand out from many leading agencies.

One of our clients described us as a:

“Unique, contemporary recruitment boutique, with a forward thinking approach to business, they use proven historical methods to source and deliver on key roles and provide a service that has substance.”

My approach with the support of a hardworking team includes a mix of headhunting, networking, attending exhibitions and events whilst spending the time to learn markets, mapping companies and use advanced recruitment databases; many key options that really do give us a competitive edge in today’s marketplace. I sincerely believe that Harbourne Associates’ success will only come from helping our clients to grow their business by sourcing the best candidates and matching them to their ideal job.

To date we have shown extremely high levels of success and conversion ratios that outmatch much of the recruitment market, not to mention staff retention figures once placed, apparent throughout many of our blue chip client base.

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Wealden Business Group Raises £5000 for Kent Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs

Wealden Business Group (WBG), a Tenterden-based business networking organisation chose us as their charity of the year and presented a cheque for a fantastic £5000.

WBG has been busy raising money throughout the year with a series of events, including a black tie dinner in February which was attended by Liam Behn, Marketing and Communication Coordinator at Kent Foundation.

Donate to Kent Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs
Picture shows (from left) Paul Barron, Director of Kent Foundation, Anne Webster, Charity Dinner Committee Member and WBG’s immediate past chairman David Meredith.

“It was obvious that a lot of time, effort and enthusiasm had gone in to the planning and preparation of the evening and this was reflected in the guests that attended. I was joined by two young entrepreneurs who played a vital role in reflecting the work of Kent Foundation. Daniel Warren, young entrepreneur and owner of Mint Fresh Services delivered his business story to the audience and it really hit home to the guests just how vital business support can be to business success. Many of the guests congratulated him and were asking for his business cards”

Paul Barron, Director of Kent Foundation was presented the cheque at one of the weekly networking events held every Wednesday at the Little Silver Country Hotel in and told members of WBG:

“Myself and the rest of the team at the Foundation are extremely grateful for this generous donation from Wealden Business Group. There is a lot of synergy between the Foundation and WBG in the belief that networking is a crucial marketing tool in business, sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. The contribution will help us to nurture the development of young people starting their own businesses, who are increasingly important to the future economy of Kent.”

1493291_662175307158740_880489715_oAs a business support charity all of our services are offered free of charge to young people under the age of 30 living in Kent. We believe in delivering a personal service and that every individual and business is different. We meet with every aspiring young entrepreneur on a one to one basis to deliver one to one information, advice and guidance. Ongoing support is provided provided by our trained Volunteer Business Mentors who are all business owners, experts and professionals from across Kent.

Donations such as this are vital in helping us to sustain the delivery of free business support to Kent’s young people and ensuring their best chance of business success. If you are passionate about business and would like to raise funds we have some fantastic Sponsorship packages on offer, or alternatively donating is easy via our Charity Choice Page.