Small Business Accelerator: Competing for Talent

By at 27 March, 2019, 10:30 am

Tips, Trends and Market Intelligence for Entrepreneurs

Finding and retaining qualified employees is the #1 concern of small businesses. The labor market is very competitive, and there are simply not enough appropriately skilled workers who fit the wide range of job openings currently available. There are more than 7 million job openings, and while more people are coming “off the sidelines” to work, a lot of progress needs to be made on improving the labor participation rate and increasing the number of innovative programs to train or upskill America’s workforce.

This was the big topic of discussion at the National Association of Workforce Boards annual conference in Washington, D.C. this week, where I spoke on the challenges and opportunities that small businesses face in the current environment, as well as policy solutions to address this critical challenge.  As I shared with the more than 1,500 attendees at the conference, small businesses across industries are not taking advantage of expansion opportunities due to the labor shortage. When small businesses are not growing, our economy is not growing.

So, it is in this spirit that I focus this week tips on how small businesses can compete for talent. There are many advantages to being “small,” and there are some very doable ideas that are shared in the first section below – The Workforce: Competing for Talent. Of course, I have also includes solid content and resources related to marketing and branding, starting a business, as well as some key trends worth watching in the marketplace.

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO   


The Workforce: Competing for Talent

How Small Businesses Can Attract Top Talent: Build a Strong Employer Brand, “When it comes to hiring for small businesses, establishing your brand through a strong company culture is key. Whether you’re writing a job ad, describing your company to others or even simply setting up your website, communicating that culture will help potential candidates decide whether they’re a good fit for your organization.” 

6 Practical Ways to Create a Culture Where Employees Enjoy Coming to Work, Inc. “All too often, building an energized and motivated workforce simply requires changing your traditional command and control structures to a culture that encourages employees to use their own judgment and exercise autonomy. Before you know it, you will have a workplace where people like to work, and a business that customers love to frequent.” 

3 Things Small Businesses Can Do to Compete in the Talent War, Stateman. “The truth is, small businesses hold big opportunity for talented employees and prospects, and there are a few things a company can do to help improve its recruitment and retention strategy.

How Do Small Businesses Recruit Top Talent?, QuickBooks/Intuit. “Use size to your advantage…become freelance-friendly…show candidates the path to fulfillment…promote an employee friendly culture.” 

How SMBs Can Compete with Large Companies in the Talent Market, Recruiter. “Get creative…make the work meaningful…build wellness into your company culture…write appealing job descriptions…broaden your pool of applicants…move quickly on good applicants…lay out a clear career path.” 


Branding & Marketing 

Digital Marketing 101: What Small Businesses Need to Know, Small Business Trends. “It’s often thought of as “online marketing,” but it goes far beyond internet marketing. Digital marketing refers to any marketing that uses digital channels to reach prospective customers. This includes mobile phone messaging (both SMS and MMS), email marketing, social media marketing, display advertising, search engine marketing and apps.” Here are 10 basic digital marketing strategies to use.

How You Can Increase Your Brand’s Authenticity, CrowdSpring. “Today, most consumers want brands to walk the talk. If you’re struggling to grow your business or improve your brand, you may need to do more to convey authenticity to your customers and prospects.”

How to Grow Your Business Using Competitive Intelligence

SCORE Webinar

March 28, 2019   1:00 p.m. ET

What can your competitors teach you about your business or the market you’re thinking about entering?  More than you think.

In this webinar led by SCORE Mentor Michael Sandman, you’ll learn how to use competitive intelligence to help you start or run your small business.

This session will cover:

●  How your market operates

●  How other businesses in the same market compete

●  What you can learn from owners and employees of businesses like yours

●  How trade and professional associations can help

Register for Free or learn more about this webinar here.


Trends in the Market 

Small Business Loan Approvals Hit Record in February, Fox Business. “Overall, the cost of capital is relatively low, small businesses are looking to secure funding, and for many companies, recent financial performances have made them creditworthy borrowers.” 

Millennial Report Highlights Growing Consumer Trends, Convenience Store Decisions. “CouponFollow, an online couponing platform, surveyed more than 1,000 millennials…”

The survey findings show that: 

Online shopping surpassed brick-and-mortar in popularity; 79% of millennials say they browse online before making any purchase, whether in-store or online. 

Mobile transactions increased 20% in 18 months, replacing desktop as the preferred method of online shopping for the generation. 

97% of millennials say they use Amazon for some portion of their online shopping. 

70% of millennials follow their favorite retailers on social media; Social presence is more important than ever before.

Restaurant Brands Have a New Consumer to Chase: Millennial Parents, Forbes. “The biggest play for millennials with families comes in the form of delivery–expected to grow exponentially within just a few short years. According to a recent report from investment bank UBS, millennials are three times as likely to order delivery than their parents.”

Spring Forward, Small Biz Daily. “And according to The Marketing Insider blog on MediaPost, Spring is a great time to target millennial moms because it’s filled with special buying occasions. (In case you’re wondering, more than half of all parents with kids under 18 are millennials.) In Spring (from March to June), moms ‘spend nearly 2/3 of what they spent on gifts and meals during their Christmas shopping season,’ according to a survey from BSM Media. 


Startups & Entrepreneurship

9 Simple Approaches to Creating a Surefire Startup, Startup Professionals. “I believe the best entrepreneurs start by finding a large opportunity, and only then use good ideas to capitalize on that opportunity. The best opportunities are recognized from painful needs, plus a growing population of customers with money to spend.”

Try This Brainstorming Exercise to Come Up With Better Business Ideas, Success. “No idea is a bad idea, business coach Christy Wright says. If you’re struggling to know whether your ideas can develop into a successful YouEconomy venture, try this exercise.”

How to Start a Brewery Company: The Complete 9 Step Guide (2019), CrowdSpring. “If you’re passionate about beer, and you’re ready to join the craft beer community, you’re in the right place. Starting a brewing business is hard work. But, you’re not alone.”

6 Actions to Find the Perfect Angel for Your Startup, Startup Professionals. “Remember that angels have a culture all their own, and it pays to understand how to deal positively with them after you find one.”


Success & Inspiration

Christy Wright’s Best Tips for Launching a YouEconomy Business, Success. “Understand your calling…embrace your story…do research and be realistic…start with what you have – and quickly…stake your ground…make time, not excuses…” Great advice!


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