Finding Helping Hands for your Small Business
February 11, 2013 by Akira Hirai
Finding the best people and identifying the right staffing options for a small business can be a confusing and time-consuming problem. Every business has distinct needs, so there is no universal formula. However, here are a few principles that can guide you:
Do look for quality when hiring. Resources can be tight for small businesses, especially when you are funding everything out of personal resources, and it can sometimes be tempting to hire based on cost. However, according to Ken Abosch of human resources consulting company Aon Hewitt, “above-average performers contribute almost twice the value of average performers to an organization.” A high return on investment is crucial, especially with your limited resources, so hire the best talent that your company can afford. In the long run – it will offer the greatest return and the greatest value.
To help you identify quality candidates, consider working with a recruiter. For many small businesses, recruiters aren’t within their budgets, but as one Inc. 500 company owner has attested, the ease and speed of working with a recruiter —10 pre-screened applicants received, 3 interviewed, and 1 top-notch candidate hired within a month—made the cost more than worthwhile.
Do look for flexible options. About 40% of small business owners report that payroll is their largest expense, according to MasterCard. So being judicious about how you staff your business will be instrumental in managing your bottom line. Consider flexible options, such as part-time and seasonal staffing, staffing through a temp agency, and independent contractors that will help to keep your payroll expenses aligned with your sales. For odd jobs, online task services like TaskRabbit.com can help you find able helping hands.
Another option that you might consider is hiring an intern. Internships have traditionally been offered by larger businesses and organizations, but small business owners and entrepreneurs are starting to adopt the practice. When you don’t have any flexibility in your budget, hiring an intern can help fill a staffing need while also giving you an opportunity to test out a potential hire.
Do consider outsourcing. When you are running a small business, it may be tempting to handle all aspects of your business in-house. However, if the task lies beyond your core competencies or is a discrete project, outsourcing is often the better option.
For tasks that require specialized skills (for example, IT, design, web development, taxes, and accounting), it is more cost-effective to find an expert who can complete the task for you. This can be for non-discrete tasks such as accounting, as well. Some accounting firms charge a flat monthly fee (usually depending upon the number of hours or the number of employees), which can work out to a fairly low hourly rate.
Another area that you might consider outsourcing is general administration. Even though administrative tasks don’t require specific expertise, they can be time-consuming, and outsourcing theses tasks to a virtual assistant can help minimize overhead.
No small business owner can do everything herself, so consider all of these options when you need a helping hand.
Other articles by Akira Hirai.
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