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Recruiting strategies to turn to when you have a tight budget
By Wendy L. Wilson
For many entrepreneurs, there’s a common refrain: There’s never enough time or money to get things done. When running a startup, you’ll quickly learn how to do the best with what you have. If your plans include hiring an all-star team, money doesn’t have to be the obstacle that steers you completely off course.
Serial entrepreneur and best-selling author Susan Solovic has spent decades advising small business owners on how to drive a company to financial success. While she knows it can be challenging to recruit and retain talented employees without the leverage of high salaries, exceptional benefits, and a corner office, it’s far from impossible.
“I always recommend business owners not to staff up for the feast, but instead run your organization at the famine level,” says Solovic. “Also, you want to establish what I call your employment brand from the beginning by letting potential employees know that your business is a place where people want to come to work. A place where people are going to be respected, feel empowered, and share in your vision and purpose.”
Attracting top talent to work for a smaller firm means thinking outside the box. Here are four recruiting strategies to use when working with a limited budget:
Know When to Outsource: Small business owners don’t always need to hire full-time employees, especially if you’re operating your business virtually. And many impressive candidates aren’t looking for full-time work. Consider outsourcing projects to independent contractors who know that you run a quality company that will take good care of them.
Sell the Small: According to powerhouse staffing agency, Robert Half, more than 50 percent of U.S. workers are employed by a small business. Entrepreneurs can take advantage of this by pointing out the opportunities new hires have to build trust faster and grow as the company grows. “Small companies cannot compete with the benefit packages offered by Fortune 500s, but it’s not always about the money,” says Solovic. “Small businesses have flexible work hours, working from home, brown bag lunches where you bring in a guest speaker who your team can learn from or even allowing your employees to bring their dog to work—all perks that people really like.”
Spread the Word: Who knows what it’s like to be an employee better than the people who already work for you? Develop an employee referral system to encourage your existing team to become ambassadors for your business. It’s likely to be a lot less expensive than hiring a recruiter. “Consider also tapping into those people who you may know have had to downsize their companies,” suggests Solovic. “Find out if they had to let go of someone who was a great worker or someone who planned to relocate to your area. These are good references because they will tell you why this person is amazing.”
Focus on Their Needs: It’s not always difficult to convince someone who is working at a bigger organization to jump ship to your business. With less job loyalty these days, Solovic believes people are more apt to take a pay cut if it means working at a smaller company that allows them to make a more impactful contribution. Also, when looking for your “rock star” list of potential employees, consider using LinkedIn.
“Join relevant discussion groups pertaining to your industry and see if anyone catches your eye who is talking about innovative moves that can help your company,” says Solovic.
It’s not impossible to recruit top talent to work for you even if you can’t offer the world in return. Using what makes your company unique and clearly describing all the potential ways for growth and opportunities will lead you to the right top candidates and ultimately alleviate at least one of your small business growing pains.
Wendy L. Wilson is an award-winning content creator, editor, and public speaker who knows a little about a lot of things. Follow her Twitter raves, rants, and reviews @WendyLWilson_.
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