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Small businesses need help, and a lot of help.

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Compared to large companies, small businesses often don’t have the resources to quickly pivot and hire the talent they need right now. In 2020, Paycor found that small business spending on labor can account for almost 70% of total costs, meaning that small businesses looking to hire new talent often don’t have the funds to do so. to do.

And if they don’t, small business owners risk losing market share to larger companies that can afford to recruit resources faster.

But there is a solution. Since the creation of the first American company, Boston Manufacturing Co., in 1813, workers were divided into two groups: full-time and part-time. Now there is a third option: flexible talent. Independent contractors, also known as freelancers, provide a way for businesses to get the talent they need on-demand without typical hiring processes.

Here are three reasons why small businesses should consider harnessing the power of flexible talent to grow their business without high hiring costs or high commitments.

1. Hiring full-time employees is not always viable or feasible.

According to Investopedia, the average cost of a new hire can be up to $ 1,500 per employee, and it can take up to six months to break even on these investments. In addition to the high onboarding costs, SHRM has found that the average time to hire a new employee is 42 days, which compounds an incredible delay on an already expensive process. Unfortunately, employees don’t always stay in their roles long enough to justify the money spent on them. The US Department of Labor has revealed that a failed hire can cost companies up to 30% of an employee’s first year earnings, up to $ 240,000.

For small businesses trying to survive as everything changes around them, they have neither the money nor the time to waste with hires that may only stay for a year, or even not function at all.

As the business world enters a new digital age, full-time positions in general just aren’t nimble, not to mention finding skills is getting harder and harder. Reuters polled small business owners this year and found that 93% of owners looking to hire reported few or no “qualified” applications for the positions they were trying to fill last month, due to a lack of high skills required for these roles.

To adapt to change and stay competitive, small businesses cannot always rely on full-time staff to quickly learn new skills. They need a more affordable and sustainable way to scale the business without breaking the bank or feeling tied to full-time talent. And with the demand for highly skilled jobs at 175%, small business owners need to find a way to get elite talent that doesn’t have to compete with big companies to get it.

2. Flexible talents offer an external perspective.

Every business has a blind spot. It’s easy to get lost in day-to-day tasks, especially in times when keeping activity is the main goal. Flexible talents help solve this problem.

As mentioned above, it’s hard to find highly skilled talent these days, 175% harder to find. According to a survey conducted by and.co, 61% of freelancers say they specialize in two to three talents. For small business owners, hiring a freelance writer to cover three skills at half the cost of a general full-time employee not only beats the competition in the race for skilled talent, but it also ensures that several areas of the business are examined by a set of trained eyes to look for problems.

Along with providing additional insight into business plans and strategy, Flexible Talent provides additional skill sets that full-time staff may not be able to bring. Twenty-three percent of small businesses fail because they failed to build a strong team, according to CBinsights. Often times, it’s not because the full-time talents themselves are not good enough, but because they have failed to bring in external and independent talent to complement their efforts. Flexible talents make it easy to build a high-performing team quickly, and full-time staff will not only get results faster, but also have the opportunity to learn skills that are transferable to each other.

If you need more evidence to support the benefits of hiring freelancers, let’s go: LinkedIn has found that 83% of small businesses that hire freelancers frequently agree that freelancers go a long way in getting the job done. Especially in an age when full-time staff are more focused on achieving the bigger picture of the business (i.e. not letting it die), freelancers may be plugged into where the attention is needed most, so that projects do not fall or get left behind as the business is simultaneously focused on staying alive.

3. Small businesses need more agility in 2021.

The business world we knew before the pandemic is gone and surviving as a small business has become much more difficult. In 2021, Politifact revealed that there were 37.5% fewer small businesses opened across the country compared to January 2020 – a chilling reality that shows how rapid changes in the world can negatively affect the landscape. Business.

This is where flexible talent comes in. The business world has talked a lot about “flexibility”. While this term may mean providing flexibility in the workplace, flexibility around talent is what matters most to small business owners.

Bringing in flexible talent, also known as freelancers or contractors, is nothing new to small business: In 2018, a study conducted by LinkedIn found that 51% of sole proprietorships have used freelancers in the past and intend to hire more. . Fast forward to 2021, and small businesses are even more desperate for skilled talent to help them complete jobs or projects that full-time staff may be too busy to handle, which is timely given the independent population is booming. In 2020, Upwork found that 36% of the workforce was self-employed, and found in 2021 that 20% of workers were currently considering self-employment, which could increase the self-employed population by 10 million. Freelancers and the agility they provide are becoming more and more accessible day by day.

Agility within teams is necessary to survive in today’s world, as it gives owners the ability to resolve issues quickly without placing too much stress on their full-time employees. However, agility is more than just flexible talent – it also applies to how small businesses find them. It’s tempting to slip into traditional hiring methods and find talent through internal efforts, but it only comes with similar delays and costs to hiring full-time talent. Deep skills platforms, such as FlexTal, provide a way for small businesses to hire controlled flexible talent quickly (typically in just seven to 10 days), for flexible engagements that can meet their current budget and business needs. By paving the way for hiring highly skilled talent that can be adjusted as situations change, small businesses can easily stay competitive in the marketplace by adapting to digital trends whenever necessary.

It’s not easy being a small business in an ever-changing landscape, but adding flexibility to your team with contract talent can provide valuable agility. By attracting skilled talent as needed, small business teams will be better equipped to manage the speed of change and emerge successful.

Editor’s Note: The author is the founder and CEO of FlexTal, which was referenced in the article.

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