Written by: Brian Smith
The economy of the past few years has created a great number of obstacles for small business owners. As an advisor to owners and managers across the country, advice on sustaining the current situation grows more and more difficult, as that advice includes decisions that affect my clients and their employees’ quality of life. However, I believe that advice will pay dividends as our economy changes and begins to grow again in the future.
The current labor pool is deep. From laid off professionals, to recently graduated college students, to everyone in-between and in the ditches. It is from this deep pool of human resources that I advise my clients to begin trolling for human capital that will help to solidify their business foundation and take advantage of the coming opportunities that are bound to be presented as this economy restarts.
Key areas that can be an investment are in customer service, operational efficiencies, and product or service quality. The current economic downturn has not slowed the evolution of the consumer, who now uses social networking and other technologies to aid in their buying decisions. By shoring up your customer service, efficiencies, product and service qualities, you are putting your company in a position to stand out when consumers begin purchasing in greater quantities and more often.
The deep labor pool offers business owners and managers the opportunity to capitalize on experienced workers at a discount, providing a key investment opportunity to solidify the business when there is time to properly attack business issues that often get overlooked when business is busy and times are good.
The best way to begin looking at how to use the experience of others currently available is to review your current business plan, or if you don’t have one, write one. Today’s business climate means a business plan is something all small businesses should have. Once you have that plan in place, look for where your deficiencies are and look at how you can fix them using today’s labor pool.
In a deep labor pool there are opportunities to “catch and release.” These experienced professionals and recently-educated people are often swimming through the labor pool, willing to help in any way possible, which in turn pays them and keeps their heads in the business game and adds to their experience. As you engage these workers, and solutions are put into place, your company will benefit from the experience of people who normally may not be available to small businesses in a cost-effective way.
Today’s labor pool will not remain full of readily available, lower cost, experienced people. Now is the time when experience and planning will best fortify the foundation of businesses. Use the opportunity to find that experience, prepare your company for the coming recovery, and gain the knowledge that will most assuredly become more costly and harder to find as the labor pool becomes shallow again in a booming economy.