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Help Wanted By David Saint-Onge

This article is a re-printed from the August 2011 edition, as approved by the UP Business Today

It is widely held by most economists that 70% of the United States’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes from privately held businesses. GDP is the term used to describe the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time. In essence, GDP represents a country’s standard of living.

contract work is a short-term engagement is being thrown out the window. More and more of today’s small business owners recognize the benefit of evolving new models of long-term, time-based work, creating greater levels of visibility, accountability and collaboration throughout employer-consultant relationships.

As I have argued in past articles, the U.S. economy is critically dependent on small business; as small business performs so too does the overall economy. Evidence of this relationship can be seen in the media everyday when the President and other political leaders lament the continued sluggishness of the economy. Despite all the economic stimulus, federal programs, and new initiatives, American small business owners are not comfortable with the uncertainty that surrounds them and, as a direct result they are not hiring, not investing, and not pushing the national economy forward.

Headd, Office of Advocacy, Positions formerly reserved for Small Business Administration, in-house employees can often March 2010). be done faster and more effectively with qualified remote If you look at the current data, consultants. The traditional conWilliam Dunkelberg, Chief cepts used to determine when to Economist for the National Fed- hire in-house and when to coneration of Independent Business tract work out have become outhas stated, "seasonally adjusted, dated. Author Gary Swart for 9 percent of owners hired new FOX Business (When to Hire a employees last month (June Contractor vs. Full-Time Em2011), a 1 point decline from ployee, October 12, 2010) proMay, while 16 percent reduced vides a few simple rules to be employment, a 3 point in- used to decide whether a consulcrease". He went on to say that tant worker should fill a posi"the remaining 75 percent of tion: owners made no change in employment. Manufacturing was The Need for Speed the only winning sector to post If you need work done fast, average positive net growth; but spending a long recruiting cycle job losses were posted by firms for a full-time employee simply in financial, non-professional stalls forward progress - a killer services, construction, negating for any small business. When any gains made." hiring a contractor, you’ll likely move more quickly through the One of the ways small business entire process (from job posting, owners are circumventing the to candidate review, to interrisk associated with hiring new view, to hiring) within a matter employees is to hire contractors of hours or days, not weeks. If instead. Today’s labor econ- you know exactly what you omy is more transparent, flat, need to get done, and can tap competitive, and on-demand into a known talent pool than ever before. With a de- "needing it done yesterday" pressed economy, there is easy doesn’t seem impossible. access to a variety of talented workers and generally at costs Flexible Terms significantly lower than stan- Not certain how big the project dard employment costs. In ad- will be, or how long you’ll want dition, the old belief that someone in this position? A

Not convinced? Let’s look at employment. In the current downturn, firms with fewer than 20 employees were hit hard early, as their string of employment losses dates back to the second quarter of 2007. However, firms with 20 to 499 employees have taken their beating more recently. Firms with fewer than 20 employees accounted for 24 percent of the net job loss from 2008 to the second quarter of 2009; firms with 20 to 499 accounted for 36 percent of the job loss; and firms with more than 500 employees accounted for 40 percent (An Analysis of Small Business and Jobs, Brian

consultant is your best bet. Consultants allow you to keep your business nimble and flexible, and you can scale your team up and down based on how much work needs to be done. On-Call Expertise As a small business, you may not need a person to fill every seat at your table every single day. As your business needs grow and change, you’ll find plenty of examples of shortterm problems needing specific expertise that is beyond your in-house team’s abilities. Consultants fit the bill to nab an expert only when you need one. The common misnomer is that consultants are expensive. When you factor in direct wages, fringe benefits, and the time necessary to manage employee and their related ‘issues’, employers are finding that in a competitive environment, employees are more expensive. Paying for specifically what you need when you need it, consultants make simple economic and performance sense. David Saint-Onge is President and Principal Strategist for Black Ink Assets (www.blackinkassets.com and www.twitter.com/YooperBiz), a business consulting company providing organizational assessment and efficiency performance services, business growth and sustainability guidance, strategic information technology consulting and technical services, and development of organizational transition plans and effective owner exit strategies.


Help Wanted