Some tips for small businesses

In Northern Michigan, one of our biggest hurdles to running a small business is finding and hiring the right employees. There are many factors that contribute to this, including the lack of affordable or workforce housing, an aging population, more kids being involved in extracurricular activities during non-school hours that conflict with businesses’ needs, too many positions being seasonal, etc.

As a SCORE mentor, I see this is one of the key points that many people miss in their business plans: How are you going to find and hire employees? As a business owner or a hiring manager/human resource professional, you need to have this on your radar. I recently asked a seasoned HR manager what her best advice was. She replied, “Every single person you meet is an opportunity,” and to always have your business card on you. Thinking outside the box is going to be critical in this age of finding and hiring employees. Most job seekers will use the regular channels when searching, but you can be creative with those. Here are a couple:

Job boards and online job search websites

Indeed and Zip Recruiter are two popular ones. Everyone uses them. They are mainly free, unless you “boost” your posts. When using these, you need to set yourself apart. Review what other similar companies are posting and make yours different. Highlights what sets you apart. Offer something different than what they are offering. There have been many studies and polls done lately and overwhelmingly people are saying they are looking for flexibility and work-life balance. Do you offer this? Put it in bold!

social media

Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are the three main websites. These are also free. Do you have a company page? If not, create one. Use it to post pictures of your business interacting with your customers and/or employees. Tell a story with pictures about how working with your company is a rewarding experience. Tell your mission statement with a picture story.

Besides the regular channels of what job seekers use, here are some ideas you the employer can use:

Partner with complementary industries

Are you seasonal? Partner with a business that is seasonally opposite to you. Offer to help refer them employee candidates during your off season. Looking for summer help only? Reach out to teachers. Many are looking for summer opportunities.

your local college

The local college will have a job board. Offer student internships. Many times, internships become full time employees.

Your local high school

Many times, the local high schools have vocational programs. They may have one related to your business. Or the school counselors may know of some students who have expressed an interest in the industry your business is in.

In summary, there are options out there to find employees. You just need to be creative and set yourself and your company apart from others. That HR professional also said in these wise words: “You should always pay attention to everyone you interact with.” For example, you may meet someone who is very outgoing and friendly. This person may be looking for a new job or career — maybe they would be a good fit for a sales position in your company?Ask them.You never know if they may indeed just indeed be looking for a new opportunity.If you are looking for additional help with starting or growing your small business, go to www. To request SCORE’s free and confidential mentoring services, call (231) 347-4150.

Tracey Dryovage is vice president of commercial lending at First Community Bank in Petoskey, and also serves as a volunteer business mentor and chapter chair with SCORE’s Tip of the Mitt Chapter.

This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: Finding and attracting employees

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