So, you've been to New York entrepreneurship week, a few times, and you're dreaming of starting your own small business. That's great! At some point, however, whether it's from day one or soon thereafter, you're probably going to need to hire staff to help you. Most entrepreneurs can't do everything alone, even when they're starting out.
The trouble is, good staff, or at least, highly qualified and experienced staff, cost a lot of money. Which you're not likely to have in abundance when you first start your small business. Here's how you can find motivated, enthusiastic and energetic staff, and keep them.
Cast Your Net Wide
If you had an established small business, your search for staff would be simple. You'd contact an employment agency, give them the details of what you are looking for, and they'd narrow the field to qualified candidates.
While your small business is still in its infancy, however, you're probably not going to be able to afford that route. Try putting up job flyers at libraries, colleges and even community notice boards. Advertise in local newspapers, or on the local Craigslist job board. While weeding through resumes yourself will be time consuming, the more people there are that apply, the more likely you are to find the right candidates among them.
Remember — When You Pay Peanuts, You Get Monkeys
It's probably the last thing you want to hear, but when you're starting a small business, you can't afford to go too cheap on the salary front. If it's a better deal to be a waitress, or work in a coffee shop, you can bet that smart, savvy people (the kind you want as your employees) will be taking that route.
If you can't afford to pay your staff a good basic, why not offer them a small share of the profits? Not only will they be more likely to consider the deal, but they'll also have a vested interest in your small business's success. This is a win win situation for everyone.
Don't Assume That Only College Grads Make Great Employees
There's a tendency, especially in the corporate world, to assume that because someone has a piece of paper with some fancy letters on it, they're the best possible candidate. Ever see the movie Erin Brockovich? She had no degree, and yet she still made the one law firm that bothered hiring her a whole lot of money.
It takes time to find great staff for your small business if you're not using a degree as your only criteria, but it can be done. So take the time to find those smart, enthusiastic and creative people out there who couldn't afford college, and consider them too. Remember, some of the best entrepreneurs out there don't have degrees either.
Look For Like Minded People
There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who see their lives as their own small business and those who don't. The born entrepreneurs out there treat everything as a business deal. Their employment is merely the sale of a service to a client, on a contract basis. Their salary negotiations are based on potential for return on investment, and they treat every criticism as constructive.
Many of those people are working in an office. Or a bar. Or a pizzeria. They are meant to be entrepreneurs, and they understand that life is a business. Those are exactly the kind of people you want working for you. They're the kind of people who aren't afraid to roll up their sleeves, and get their hands dirty if necessary. They're the kind of people who will work overtime, if necessary — as long as they know there's something in it for them.
When you advertise for staff for your business, don't try to make it seem bigger or more important than it is. Tell potential staff members that you're a small business, looking for people who are willing to grow with the company. Explain to them that while they will have a job description, they'll be able to get involved in other aspects of the business too. And then tell them what's in it for them.
If you make a position sound dull, grey, and boring, you'll have the kind of employees that like to work in cubicles, enjoy corporate bureaucracy, and want mundane jobs. Not the kind of employees most entrepreneurs want. If you tell people that they will have the chance to get involved, to express their ideas and to be creative, then you're far more likely to find the kind of people who will help your small business to grow.
Your Leadership Makes the Difference
In my experience, there's hardly ever such a thing as a bad employee. There are plenty of bad managers and bosses though. Your attitude, to them, your clients and your business, will determine what you get out of your employees. Smart entrepreneurs know that finding, and keeping, great staff is almost as important as building a loyal customer base. So be a good boss, and you should have good employees.
As a successful, under-30 serial entrepreneur, Gary Whitehill's game-changing endeavors have been featured on television and in magazines and newspapers across the nation. Read more about Gary here.