Staffing Your Small Business

Running any small business always comes with its fair share of challenges–be it marketing, managing or tracking revenue, but one problem that few think about is staffing.

Staffing a small business is not something that can be done on the spur of the moment. Choosing the right staff means considering your business needs–immediate and future. With some forethought and a little strategy, the right talent can mean all the difference between a struggling small business and a lucrative one.

Tip 1: Sometimes working with family is good!

Despite what many people say, family members can be a perfect, untapped resourced–especially if they understand your goals and share your work ethic. Remember though, working with family can be a double-edged sword: Even if you fire them as an employee, you’ll still have to sit across from them at the dinner table.

Tip 2: Consider a college degree an asset, not a requirement.

Take a good look at the skill set needed for the job. There are often plenty of qualified candidates in the job market who may not have a college degree. In many cases, the most valuable learning experiences happen outside of the classroom. Don’t assume that candidates who didn’t attend college are a step behind the rest. On the contrary, their on-the-job training has likely taught them much more than a college text book.

Tip 3: Try before your buy.

Offering a position on a “contract to hire” basis is a great way to evaluate whether an individual is a solid fit for a position–without the long-term commitment of a straight to hire situation. In addition to the trial contract period (1, 3 or 6 month term is sufficient for most positions), an employer can often enjoy a lower per-hour cost by reducing or eliminating overhead from medical benefits packages and vacation time.

Tip 4: The Internet is your friend.

When you need to announce your open position to the world, nothing beats the internet in terms of reach and affordability. There are dozens of major job boards, both regional and national, that will post your job for free. However, you will have to spend some time learning how the particular site’s system works and/or searching for the right employees. Several web-based services are available that can streamline this work–often saving you hours of time and frustration. You can enlist the help of experts to assist you with this endeavor.

Tip 5: Always do phone interviews first.

Once the applications start flooding in, you’ll need to conduct interviews with your potential employees. Phone interviews are often the quickest way to weed out unqualified candidates. Having a preparer list of questions will help you understand their abilities, skill sets and past work experience. Be sure to take notes; after a few hours of phone interviews, everyone’s personalities and job skills will start to run together.

Tip 6:  Verification Process.

Don’t assume the credential are true.  Ask and verify places of employment, education and degrees obtained.  Ask for and check references.  You may uncover more than you expected.

Wrapping up

Remember, employees are the face of your business. With the proper planning, finding the right talent for your business will have you smiling in no time.

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