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Staffing your Business: Four Flexible Options to Consider as you Start Up and Grow

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Staffing your Business: Four Flexible Options to Consider as you Start Up and Grow

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: November 11, 2010 Updated: May 8, 2013

How do you staff a new or growing business?

Knowing who to turn to can be a bit of a conundrum. Do you dive right in and hire full-time or part-time employees? What if your success doesn't last and you are stuck with a team of employees with the associated payroll and benefit expenses? What about turning to friends and family or a staffing agency for help?

It might not be something you thought about too much about when you started your business, but having a staffing plan can help your business prepare for success and ensure you have the right talent in place to help you scale and grow when the time comes.

Here are some options that you might want to consider as you review and prepare for your short- and long-term business staffing needs.

1. Hiring Friends and Family

Operating a family business has a nice ring to it, and of course if the talent and willingness is there, why not use it? Friends and family can often step in and help you out on flexible schedules and terms. However, if this is an option you can take advantage of, don't abuse it. Give your nearest and dearest clear goals and objectives, and compensate them fairly and within the law.

You should also be aware of several regulations that come with working with family. Read Running a Family Business Within the Law so that you are aware of legal, tax and labor laws that may impact your decision and how you operate your business.

Temporary agencies specializing in communications, accounting or legal work can be a source of job candidates. Many do direct hires, and temporary-to-permanent options are a great way to test an applicant before making a decision.

2. Consider Independent Contractors

Hiring an independent contractor or freelancer is another flexible approach to staffing your business. It's also a great way of finding specialists to help on an hourly or project basis (independent contractors specialize in many areas of business from HR and accounting, to marketing and web design). The best way to find independent contractors is word of mouth and referrals. Ask around. Use LinkedIn or Facebook to solicit recommendations from friends and acquaintances. Another alternative is to use online freelance 'marketplaces' or 'bidding' sites built solely for freelancers and the people who want to hire them; although, if you are looking for a trusted resource, I always recommend getting a referral.

Independent contractors are technically self-employed, which means you don't carry the burden of managing payroll, employment taxes and the other obligations of managing employees,' which can result in cost-savings over time.

Remember, however, that it is your responsibility to ensure that you properly handle the taxation and other regulatory requirements involved with working with independent contractors. Read more about these in this Hiring independent Contactors Guide from the SBA community.

3. Turn to a 'Temp' Staffing Agency

Many businesses turn to staffing agencies when they need to cover gaps in their employee line-up. Say, for example, if a team member takes extended leave or you need to temporarily fill a job vacancy until you can hire a replacement.

But what about turning to a temp agency for your permanent or semi-permanent staffing needs?

Temp agencies can help you quickly staff a position with qualified and screened candidates, which can reduce the recruitment burden. However, remember that temp agencies take a cut of the hourly rate that you pay the 'temp' (up to 30%) and often charge temp-to-permanent fees if you decide to hire that person full-time.

So while you may get an immediate fix for your needs if the temp is the right fit - it can be an expensive way to staff your start-up or growing business. And don't forget to consider the fact that one of your biggest goals should be building a team -- so you may want to ask yourself: how invested in the success of your business would a temp be?

4. Outsource Core Business Functions

When you don't have enough hours in the day to operate your business and take care of your clients at the same time, outsourcing core business functions can be a cost-effective and headache-free way to go.

Tax specialists and accountants can help reduce many of the headaches associated with small business ownership - from payroll to tax filing - and the overhead can be a lot less than staffing this kind of help in-house. Accounting firms for example charge a flat monthly fee, which can be as low as $35 plus an additional fee per employee (often less than $5 per headcount).

Another area you might consider outsourcing is your administrative function. Virtual assistants can be hired for as little as $20-$50 an hour to help with all facets of your business - from managing your business expenses and maintaining inventory, to proofing and formatting your sales pitch in PowerPoint.

These articles might help you in your search for outsourced help:

What's Worked for You?

What staffing strategies have or haven't worked for you as a start or grow a business? Please leave a comment below!

 

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

Thanks for this great post, I'm struggle alot at the minute with having to much work and hiring staff is a major prolem I face. I work in the services industry so things go dead over Christmas, but I am still busy enough to take someone on, but then don't want to as I don't want to dissapoint them if the work drys up. ATM I've taken to hiring ppl for cash for a few days, I know this is a bad idea and I should really take your advice here, it's hard
Hi There I outsourse all my jobs to an agency that way I can change them when I want, if I am not happey with there work Holidays lay them off, This way you have no head aches Regards Steve---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.
This is a great resource. I'm just in the process of launching my own small business even though i'm 'over the pond' as they say...this article was very relevant and thought provoking. Thank youj.---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.
Even our recovering auto companies are utilizing temp agencies to hire employees they need now and to decide down the road if they need the extra employee and if the person is a hard worker, worth the full salary and benefits commitment. >one touch ultra mini --- This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.
This blog is excellent gives me various tips; how to employ your staff in various circumstances. 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 and the right talent can mean all the difference between a struggling small business and a lucrative one. ---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.
Temp agencies and contracting houses are becoming a more and more popular asset to businesses of all sizes. From a small hometown business to a large multi-national the benefits of non-permanent employees is being utilized allover the country. Even our recovering auto companies are utilizing temp agencies to hire employees they need now and to decide down the road if they need the extra employee and if the person is a hard worker, worth the full salary and benefits commitment.
This is a great resource. I'm just in the process of launching my own small business even though i'm 'over the pond' as they say...this article was very relevant and thought provoking. Thank youj.---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.

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