08/16/13 By Jennifer Brown

For many business owners, when you need someone to edit your blogs, book your travel arrangements, or manage your bookkeeping, the traditional route is to hire a full time employee. However, for small businesses, this can often be very costly: hiring a full time employee constitutes paying a full time salary plus benefits, and even if you have the resources to pay this individual, oftentimes you don’t have the work to support a full time person.

While there is never a shortage of tasks to accomplish, many of these needs fall outside of the business owner’s primary skill set. In reality, these tasks are distracting and sap energy that is needed elsewhere: business owners should be focusing their talents on the things that are their strengths and the things that help to move the business forward.

In recent years, the term “assistant” has really been broadened: while most people once thought of an assistant as the person who handles administration, there are now many other tasks that assistants perform for their clients. Of course, you can still hire an assistant to perform more traditional administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, making travel arrangements, and maintaining office supplies. But now, you can also hire someone to perform tasks such as blogging, following up with clients, creating and formatting documents, and bookkeeping. And, you could hire someone to handle your social media management and maintain your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social pages.

Instead of hiring full time employees, small business owners need to be creative in how they find the right people to meet their business needs. These non-traditional sources are the individuals who want more flexibility in their schedules: part time employees, college students, interns, companies you can pay by the hour to do this work, virtual assistants and stay at home parents.

By taking advantage of these skilled workers, business owners will discover some truly talented individuals and save money at the same time. These types of workers are highly specialized and tend to be very good at those things for which they are hired. And by hiring these individuals on a contractual basis, a full time salary and benefits are no longer necessary, and if the arrangement isn’t working out, it’s much easier to end it.

To be perfectly honest, there aren’t many cons to these non-traditional sources. While there is the concern of contractual workers not feeling loyalty to your company, hiring someone based on referrals will help to assure that the individual you hire is trustworthy and reliable. Talk to trusted colleagues and utilize your social media community, e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, your networking associations, to find someone great. And if all else fails, there are companies that specialize in VIrtual Assistants who will help set you up with the right assistant for your needs.

What are some other non-traditional sources of talent you have used in your business?

Please let me know if there are topics and/or questions you’d like me to address.

 

Jennifer Brown is the founder of PeopleTactics LLC, she is devoted to helping small business owners implement solutions to prevent Human Resources problems that drain them of their time, money, and energy. Jennifer works with small businesses in order to help them build stronger employee relationships, understand and comply with employment laws, establish policies, and set up easy-to-use HR systems to consistently avoid problems.

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