The untapped labor force:
an affordable solution for the overworked small business owner
You’ve heard it before: “Move ahead as a business! Delegate tasks to others!“
The problem: your business is young, and you can’t afford to pay someone to help you.
The solution: open the doors of your business to people who are often overlooked as vital members of the labor pool.
Consider the following realistic solutions to your “perceived” financial barrier…and start delegating:
Offer an unpaid internship to a college student. Talk about a win-win situation. Maybe you’re a wizard in your field of marketing, but your bookkeeping system needs an overhaul. Offer an internship to an accounting student this summer. Your intern can get your books in order, and the student will gain a valuable experience for a resume. Next semester, you might offer an internship to an administrative wizard. He might help you design systems to keep you organized. Meanwhile, you help him gain one more job experience.
Offer an older person a chance to contribute. Another win-win for both parties. Depression, boredom, loneliness, and a lost sense of purpose can creep up on people during retirement. Volunteerism can be one part of the solution. Contact an organization that matches volunteers and get paired with a retired person who can volunteer their skills within your firm. SCORE is a perfect example of an organization which allows retired businesspeople to contribute to the community as counselors of small businesses. As the Baby Boom generation begins to join the ranks of the retired, there is no shortage of resources. Although not every older person is wiser, many mature workers have accumulated broad life experiences and different perspectives that could teach you some valuable lessons as a business owner.
Host job shadows and internships for people with disabilities/barriers to employment. Similar to retired people, people with disabilities can struggle with feelings of lost purpose. Unfortunately, many with disabilities have also learned to expect rejection from employers. Another reality: Most everyone will eventually become a “person with a disability,” even if that disability is simply the disability of aging and becoming too tired to work full time. Be that employer who gives people with disabilities a chance to prove themselves. In return, you may discover you now have a reliable person to whom you can delegate. Maybe that chronically unemployed person with a traumatic brain injury is a creative thinker who could give you some great ideas about marketing. Maybe that woman with ADHD could handle your IT needs. Maybe that 50-year-old man with autism could organize your files or redesign your company logo. Contact an office of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. They can put you in touch with employment agencies who would value you as a partner employer who offers internships/job shadows for people with disabilities. Don’t worry about liability; vendors of the DVR are fully insured.
Taking social responsibility is not only the right thing to do, but it is also good business. You will enhance your reputation as an empathic employer who gets involved in the community as a friendly internship host. Chances are good that your interns will bring with them high motivation to perform well…and help you grow your business.