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5 Creative Staffing Options for Small Business Owners

5 Creative Staffing Options for Small Business Owners

Jessica Cosgriff

September 27, 2009

You’ve probably heard the adage “You have to spend money to make money.” Staffing your company is one of the most valuable ways to spend money on growing your business. When you spend your valuable time on work that isn’t your core business (for example, doing the books for your computer repair business), it’s time spent away from growing your core business. As many of us small business owners know, building and maintaining a company doesn’t always result in a steady cash flow. That’s why I recommend small business owners get creative with their staffing.

Explore Part-Time

There is an enormous pool of talented individuals who are looking for part-time work. You need to tap into them. One company, 10 til 2, is a staffing firm specializing in part-time staffing. All of their candidates are college educated but they are also looking for the work-life balance part-time work offers them. Hiring part-time allows you to only pay for the number of hours you actually need someone to work and keeps costs down such as offering benefits, paid time off, etc. Visit to find out if an office is located near you or contact their corporate offices. You might also take advantage of websites such as Craigslist to find people in your area (they have a section under Employment that’s titled “Part-time” – start there). You can search resumes on Craigslist for free, allowing you to target the people you might be interested in hiring. Also consider posting on larger job boards such like, you’ll reach a broad audience of people.

Partner with Your Local University

Remembering back to your college years, many of you will recall that specific programs at colleges and universities require internships in order to graduate. Take advantage of that! Contact the career center at a local university and target programs that match the skills you’re looking for. You can pay a minimal cost (sometimes none at all) if you’re willing to share some of your expertise and wisdom with them. Students will appreciate the experience for their resumes and a good reference.

Seasonal or Project Staffing

If your work flow ebbs and flows with specific seasons or projects, consider hiring seasonal staff. Tax time for CPA’s is an obvious example where they seek additional help during their busiest times. When you make a strong connection with someone who isn’t seeking constant full-time work, you can build a relationship with them which allows you to call on them when you need it. Refer to the part-time resources listed above to tap into some of these candidates.

Trade Your Services with Other Small Business Owners

If you run a printing company and your neighbor is a bookkeeper, consider trading services. Similar to “donations in kind”, take advantage of the expertise around you and find ways to help each other out. With a couple strategic partnerships with other business owners, you may be able to get help with valuable services with little or no cash out of your bank account. Remember: be creative with staffing. Thinking outside the full-time box is important to finding ways to staff your company on the limited resources you might have available to you. You’ll ultimately be able to make more money if you spent time making your business more profitable; let someone else handle the small stuff.

Temporary Staffing

Temporary staffing is a great way to hire staff without doing almost any of the HR legwork. Temp companies can often get you someone the next day or soon after and you get to determine the duration of how long you work with them. An upside of temporary staffing is that if you don’t click with the candidate they place with you, or they lack the skills you wanted, the temp company handles letting the person go. Then they get you a new staff person to start work with. You can hire a temp for as short as one day or ongoing, often with the option of buying the person out of their contract. Search the internet for local temp companies and ask for several quotes on staffing for the position you’re interested in. They make their money by marking up the hourly rate so make sure you’re getting a competitive quote.

Running a small business takes blood, sweat and tears. Try to eliminate some sweat and tears by using your resources efficiently when it comes to hiring. The key is to build a supportive staffing structure that allows you to do that.