Planning during a Pandemic – why it matters!

by Visus Group Partner: Derek Pittak, Founder & Professional EOS Implementer, Blueprint Vision Group

The truth is, we have all been inundated with articles these past nine months that have pointed out – 2020 has shifted the way many of us think and operate in our personal and professional lives. It has made many entrepreneurs, leaders, and organizations think differently about what the future looks like and how to handle things around workforce engagement/culture in a remote environment, office space, activity standards, and how to lead their people to name a few. The staffing industry is not unique…the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us similarly. I have seen where the impact of COVID-19 has caused some staffing businesses to panic, while many pivoted, and some have completely overcome.

As a business owner who serves the staffing industry, I am constantly faced with helping my clients overcome COVID-19 related challenges. Many owners and leaders are asking, what does good look like in terms of activity for sales and recruiting? How do we get prospects to schedule ‘zoom calls’? How do we manage our staff remotely? Is marketing effective in staffing and if so, what should we do? With over a dozen clients in the staffing industry and my background as an executive of a large staffing organization, past experiences, best practices, and peer to peer sharing has helped me, help my clients!

For anyone who owns a business, you may have found that it is extremely important to plan during a pandemic, just like I did. When you leave your business to chance, it is random, and as one of my clients tells me, “random is bad”. In a business like mine, with a niche focus in the staffing industry, I need to be extremely surgical with how I spend my time and where to focus. I like to think of planning as the first step to optimizing your business. There are many ways to plan in your business, several methodologies out there, and one in particular led me to start my own practice because of how passionately I felt about how it can help many staffing companies overcome their obstacles to growth. That system is the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).

EOS simplifies what many organizations and leaders want to over-complicate. The system is rooted in mastering the five leadership abilities that help leaders breakthrough the ceilings they will face on their journey to whatever success looks like for them. EOS is designed to help companies grow stronger in the six key components of their business – Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process, Traction by instilling discipline and accountability through the use of simple tools and timeless, proven concepts. I want to be very clear here – EOS is much more than business or strategic planning, it is a system designed to instill structure, prioritization, focus, and execution that will optimize your business. A famous entrepreneur, John Doerr, once said, ‘ideas are easy, execution is everything’.  That is what EOS helps teams with through a complete toolbox and process that helps keep teams and organizations on track.

That toolbox starts with mastering the five foundational tools that will no doubt get your team more focused and aligned around execution. Those are:

  1. Developing and sharing the right vision through the Vision / Traction Organizer (V/TO)
  2. Creating a crisp and clear Accountability Chart so we know who is accountable for what
  3. Setting the right priorities every 90 days through Rocks
  4. Executing on the proper Meeting Pulse every week, quarter, and year to become better predictors, issue solvers, and understand where are business is going
  5. Identify the right Scorecard data and measurables to understand if we are winning or losing week in and week out to ultimately hit our goals

These five tools, if executed properly, will take your team so much farther than without. They will in no doubt do what us EOS Implementers call ‘VTH’ – Vision by getting everyone on the same page with where you are going and how you will get there. Traction by instilling discipline and accountability and Healthy by creating a more cohesive leadership team and organization.

At the end of the day, there are many different operating models out there to run your staffing business. I urge you and challenge you to choose one – not pick a flavor of the month or try to cobble your own together from different systems you like. Just choose one and stick to it! You cannot gain traction in your business by always ‘going alone’ i.e. without a plan because when a pandemic strikes, how do you plan to come out of it? Having the right plan or vision, paired with the right people to help you execute that vision – remember, the biggest barriers to growth are your people, and having a rock solid repeatable process will help prepare you for and execute against the majority of challenges your business will be faced with!

EOS is aimed at helping privately held entrepreneurial organizations that want to grow but yet are stuck, do not plan, stick to a plan and hit the ceiling time and time again. 90% of the 25,000 staffing companies in the United States are $10M or less in revenue. Plenty of them want to break that barrier. That is what EOS helps organizations solve and why I believe EOS is a perfect fit for the staffing industry. As one of my clients told me recently and the best compliment I have received to date: “I don’t know why we waited so long to use a system like EOS, it got us through the pandemic this year”.


Derek Pittak is a former Integrator and Chief Operating Officer of a $100M+ staffing organization turned Professional EOS Implementer. He works exclusively within the staffing industry and his clients cover the spectrum of verticals within the industry as well. If you want to learn more about EOS or Derek, please visit or email Derek directly at

Strategic plan or sales plan: What’s best for your staffing firm?

It is that time of the year where business owners and senior management in the staffing industry are working hard to plan for 2021. And as much as pundits say we need a roadmap in order to succeed in our businesses, developing one is one of those leadership responsibilities that senior people in the staffing industry loath the most. This goes for the small privately held staffing business to the very large national staffing firms.  

Several years ago, INC Magazine conducted a survey of the common things that business executives did that landed them on the INC 500 list and stayed on the list versus the firms that got on the list and fell off the list. Strategic planning, formal planning, and annual planning were on the short list for the firms that got on the list and stayed on the list for five plus years. Point being, strategic planning is a really smart thing to be doing if you like to see growth in your business.  

I have always been curious about the reasons why so many executives running staffing businesses have a resistance to annual formal planning for their business. One past client of mine said, “We tried planning once, it didn’t work so we never tried it again”. Another past client of mine said, “I don’t plan because if I develop a plan for my business then I would have to follow it. I like shooting from the hip”. I hear most often, “Things change too much. We have put plans together in the past and by March the plan is out the window”. 

I attended a recent staffing show and during the show, I was talking to a staffing leader that had grown several staffing businesses to north of $100 million in annual revenue and sold them. An unassuming gentleman. I asked him, “What are the top three most important things to focus on when growing a staffing business?” He said, (and this is likely the most important thing to think about in this blog) “Plan, People and Financing. You have to have a well thought out plan, you have to have the right people in the business to execute on the plan, and you have to not get in trouble financing your receivables.” 

We have all heard “If you don’t plan, you plan to fail.” This, actually, is not 100% true. We all have met people that grew a business, generated tons of wealth, and did it with no plan in mind. Lucky?  Maybe. Right place at the right time? Maybe. A rarity? Absolutely. For the most part, the ninety-something percent of us fall into the same mindset – if we do not plan, we really do plan to fail. 

What is the best way to proceed with this planning conundrum? Do we plan for our business or do we not? 

It has been my experience that for smaller owner-operator staffing firms, a “Sales Plan” is actually more important than a strategic plan. If you download a business plan format for a startup, you will quickly discover that it is a simple sales plan format. That aside, a sales plan is going to force the owner of that staffing firm to lock down on a unique selling proposition, an ideal client profile, an account analysis of key accounts, a top 50 prospect list, and much more very tactical sales related dynamics that are very critical to the growth and sustainability of a small staffing business. At the end of the day, a sales plan is a part of business planning.

For larger staffing firms, it is best to pursue a formal planning process. It is not uncommon that larger firms bring in an outside resource to facilitate this process. An outside resource is not politically attached to any one executive or any one idea and becomes the point person for driving the process forward to completion. For larger staffing firms, vision, mission, values and culture development are essential to articulate as the organization has grown well past the owner-operator structure. Such a planning process is going to include an industry analysis, a customer analysis, an internal analysis, the development of key initiatives and action plans, a financial model to back the plan up and much more.

The Visus Group has been facilitating sales planning processes and business planning processes for staffing firms of all sizes. Understanding the internal human and financial resources and how to allocate these resources, understanding the external threats and opportunities, getting focused on a few key business altering initiatives is critical to success.  It is never one size fits all when it comes to successfully planning for the business.

Another form of planning and business optimization is through the implementation of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). Visus Group partners with a Professional Implementer that focuses solely in the staffing industry. This process is another great way to simplify your business, develop a plan, and begin to deliver on execution of that plan with a high level of accountability. More on that in our next post…

Bottom line, remember what my colleague said, “Plan, People and Financing”. It all starts with the right planning and we think the time is now. Ready to get started? Please give us a call to help you get there.