Labor Strategy

Creative hiring and recruitment was not a strategy I was ever taught by any of my mentors, advisors, or business classes.  Sales and cash management have been the primary challenges that have preoccupied my every waking moment as a small business owner of more than 10 years.  Finding quality people simply hadn’t been the challenge that it is today.  It’s become evident that my businesses has lately been in great peril from not being able to even find those quality people.  In the recent economic climate, the labor pool has been pretty well drained, labor costs have gone through the roof, and sadly, most potential employees available are lackluster at best.


It’s disheartening as an entrepreneur who is eager to capitalize on the boom market of today, but is sometimes unable to for the simple fact that I am dependent on quality people who, due to the current market, remain virtually nonexistent.  It feels like they have all gone missing; as if they only existed in times past.  Where have all the craftsmen gone?  The true artists of any craft.  Why doesn’t anyone want to invest in themselves anymore?  Why aren’t people lining up to capitalize on the opportunities that me and every other small business must have?


I’m pretty confident I’m not alone in my plight.  I hear frustration and disappointment from everyone in my situation.  The most common complaints I’ve heard from numerous small businesses: 1) if they’re available, there’s probably a reason, 2) most candidates grossly misrepresent their skill sets or 3) they are simply brand new, with no experience whatsoever.


A strategy I’ve recently been forced into is, training and teaching every employee some of the most basic skill sets of their job.  The philosophy goes that if I focus on finding quality people, the skill sets can be taught.  Integrity and a willingness to learn are some characteristics that quality people will bring with them and simply can’t be taught.  These are the qualities of which I base all my new hires.  Unfortunately, I have given up all hope that the trainable skill sets will accompany those foundational qualities.


As a business owner, we have to wear many different hats day-to-day.  Some days it’s my accounting hat, or my attorney hat, or my carpenter hat, or my delivery driver hat.  Recently, I’ve noticed I wear my teacher’s hat for a larger portion of the 70 hour work week than I previously had.  Reluctant at first, I’m beginning to embrace the task.  I have personally felt the reward that teachers must feel when they can realize the fruit of their labors.  I’ve also noticed that this strategy is adding some additional value that I didn’t recognize at first.


  • Giving opportunity to people that wanted an opportunity, but wouldn’t otherwise qualify
  • Gaining loyalty and a bond for long term relationships
  • Custom training and grooming of proprietary standards or specific means & methods
  • Provides me with an opportunity to perfect my training & teaching methods
  • Sharing the principal that constant improvement is vital to the healthy growth of business and successful people
  • Inspires passion through the training investment made by the employee & employer
  • New employees realizing they are at a ‘ground-floor’ position in a small business that is poised for substantial growth


It may not be the best method, and certainly has it’s expenses, but I am hoping it to be a profitable long-term strategy.  I suppose only time will tell.