As a business owner or a people manager, you don't always have the resources to match bigger, more established companies. However, that doesn't mean that you can't achieve big things. Instead, you've got to be nimble and make the most of the resources you do have.
Business owners and managers know that having the right people in the right positions can make or break their success. But sometimes, budget constraints can make it difficult to hire more staff or offer competitive salaries. One of the trickiest parts of building a business is knowing when and how to add employees to the team.
Here are my best tips for running a small business by doing more with less people to maintain a functioning workplace:
1. MAXIMIZE INTERNS.
Plugging in an intern wherever possible is a brilliant idea. They're often very eager to apply themselves (not to mention brilliant with technology!). To maximize the capabilities of an intern, it's essential to make sure their tasks are connected to the company's goals, while ensuring the intern can connect the dots between their tasks and the bigger picture. This will help them to be as effective and productive as possible.
2. BE RESOURCEFUL.
Leverage technology to automate certain tasks and streamline processes. Automating mundane, repetitive tasks can free up your team to focus on more important, value-driven activities. Having the right technology in place is essential for small business owners looking to do more with less people.
3. OUTSOURCE TASKS.
Outsourcing certain tasks to freelancers or virtual assistants is a great way to get help with tasks that can be time consuming or require specialized skills, without the expense of hiring a full-time employee. Freelancers and virtual assistants can help with a range of tasks like social media management, website maintenance, data entry, content creation and more. With the right freelancer or virtual assistant, small business owners can free up their time to focus on the core aspects of running their business.
4. CREATIVE INCENTIVES.
Get creative with compensation and benefit packages. Think outside the box to reward your employees for their hard work and dedication. Consider offering flexible work hours that allow for more productivity, additional or unlimited vacation days to promote a healthy work-life balance, or other incentives such as discounts at local businesses or additional training opportunities.
5. TALENT OPTIMIZATION.
Implement a training program to ensure employees are equipped with the skills required to do their job, which helps increase efficiency and productivity. In addition to training, employee engagement is key to reduce turnover, while saving time and money. Talent optimization is an effective strategy to help small business owners maximize their resources. With the right training program and an emphasis on employee engagement, you can create a productive and engaged team that will help your business thrive.
Business owners don't have to feel overwhelmed by the challenge of doing more with fewer people. By investing in the right tools, having a clear plan and being creative, they can successfully accomplish their goals and maximize their resources.
Ashley Ward is the Founder and CEO of W Talent Solutions, an executive recruiting firm based in Grand Rapids. A survivor of domestic violence, Ashley founded W Talent Solutions in 2017 with a mission to empower women experiencing domestic violence and now gives 10% of profits to the YWCA so that other women can have the same chance she did.
This article originally appeared in the Apr/May '23 issue of West Michigan Woman.