For our most recent delve into the entrepreneurial stories behind South Yorkshire businesses, unLTD caught up with Chris Burns, founder of Ardeta Search recruitment agency, to discuss his personal and professional journey since starting his own business
Hi Chris. Can you tell us about the ‘lightbulb moment’ which led to you setting up your business?
The birth of Ardeta Search was a mix of both personal and professional signs telling me it was time for a change. Over time, I couldn’t ignore the feeling that the universe was nudging me onto a different path. The moment it all clicked happened whilst I was driving with my family. I just turned to my wife and said, “You know what? I think I’m going to start up on my own.”
What really drove me was the desire to have full control over what the business represented: its mission, its values and especially the manner in which we could provide our services. These values are now the backbone of our business.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced while building and growing your business, and how have you overcome them?
Starting from scratch, spinning every plate, while also doing the day job, was a real juggling act. I’ve always considered myself entrepreneurial, and it felt like I’d been laying the groundwork for this leap throughout my life. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. I think the key is to see challenges as opportunities to learn and develop and keep focusing on the horizon.
“Our recruitment philosophy revolves around people. We’re on a mission to make the recruitment process a positive, successful experience for everyone involved. This drive is deeply rooted in our culture and values, which we live and breathe every day.”
On a personal level, one of the most unexpected hurdles wasn’t business-related at all. Just before officially starting the business, I tore my meniscus, which was basically the end of my running and football. These sports had been my go-to stress relief outside of work.
Adjusting to this whilst diving headfirst into the business was quite a challenge, especially for someone as active as me, but it was just another hurdle to overcome.
Can you describe your typical client and the types of businesses that benefit most from your services?
Our clients at Ardeta Search come from all walks of the business world, from small owner-managed SMEs to large corporate PLCs. What defines our approach is connecting leadership with opportunities, and this varies for each client. It’s not just about filling top positions; it’s about finding those individuals with the specific skills and qualities that can turbocharge performance.
Our background is pretty solid in working with businesses in transition, growth or change. These are the organisations who need a recruitment partner that understands their unique needs inside and out, and that’s where we shine.
How do you feel you differ from other recruitment agencies?
Our recruitment philosophy revolves around people. We’re on a mission to make the recruitment process a positive, successful experience for everyone involved. This drive is deeply rooted in our culture and values, which we live and breathe every day.
In this ever-evolving business world, the old standards no longer cut it. We’re in an era where conventional recruitment practices are being shaken up by innovation and agility. We don’t just stop at recruitment; we’re mentors, advisors and ambassadors for our clients in the marketplace.
We’re pros at helping businesses grow strategically, from identifying the best talent to integrating them seamlessly into the organisation. We’re part of the businesses we work with, not just an external service.
“What really drove me was the desire to have full control over what the business represented: its mission, its values and especially the manner in which we could provide our services. These values are now the backbone of our business.”
You recently brought your sister in to run the London office. Was this always part of the plan, and how have you found working with family?
Expanding Ardeta Search was always on the horizon, and to be honest, it was never a question of if, but when my sister, Carmela, would join the team. Over the years, I’ve built connections with professionals I’ve worked with and thought, “Someday, we’ll collaborate again.” Carmela and I had worked together before, so I knew she had desire and skill sets I’m looking for.
The challenge was convincing her to come on board. Start-ups aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but our nimbleness and potential for growth make it an exciting proposition.
Looking ahead, what are your plans for the future?
We’ve just celebrated our first year since Ardeta Search’s launch, a moment I’m extremely proud of. The community that’s sprung up around the business is probably the most fulfilling part of this journey. Our immediate focus is to keep supporting existing and new clients regionally and nationally. To make that happen, we’re actively seeking top-tier talent to join our team.
We’re not resting on our laurels; we’re exploring new ways to support businesses. My main goal is to build on what we’ve achieved in our first year and propel the business forward.