By Bob Funk
It is a precarious time to be a small business owner in America today. Comprising more than 99 percent of America’s employer firms according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for approximately 64 percent of all jobs created. Yet to many small business owners, recent policy shifts have left them in the lurch, harming employer and employee alike.
In a 2014 small business study by Bank of America, 72 percent of study participants expressed a concern about rising healthcare costs, exacerbated by complications brought on by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Sixty-three percent of small business owners said the prices of commodities worried them; and, to make matters worse, more than half of those queried said that both consumer spending and the strength of the U.S. dollar were keeping them up at night.
To be clear, the situation for American small businesses is not all doom and gloom; all of the above results were down from their equivalents from Bank of America’s 2013 study.
American small-business owners are many things, but they are not a group prone to unwarranted negativity. With a much smaller safety net in place than that available to large businesses, small businesses are especially vulnerable to threats like those spurred on by unfavorable economic shifts or those caused by business-harming laws or regulations.
So, what are America’s small business owners to do? Beyond far-reaching policy change, small business owners can stand to benefit greatly from employing staffing agencies to meet much of their employment demands.
Businesses that have inconsistent production schedules—such as those that see seasonal spikes and drops in sales, or those that often have big projects followed by work lulls upon their completion—can look to staffing agencies to meet those needs without making the expensive commitment to hiring full-time positions.
Moreover, staffing agencies help circumvent the often expensive, time-consuming hiring process. When consulting a staffing agency, the otherwise taxing process is streamlined and the burden is taken off small businesses’ shoulders. Staffing agencies go through the process of vetting would-be employees, ensuring that their qualifications meet the requirements. Small businesses are thus spared the expense of having to advertise their positions, the time spent on the selection process, and the even more expensive process of having to terminate employees who don’t work out.
Old stereotypes die hard and there’s not a stereotype I come upon in my line of work more often than the one that staffing agencies are relegated to the skill-less and unemployable. As a matter of fact, many associates are highly-skilled and arrive complete with degrees, certifications and a host of proficiencies. In addition, the types of jobs staffing companies can fill are not as limited as most would think. Express fills both positions traditionally thought of such as clerical work, data entry and manufacturing positions, as well as professional careers in IT, accounting, advertising and so on.
The numbers don’t lie. According to a study by the American Staffing Association, 80 percent of queried businesses reported being satisfied by the results of their use of a staffing agency and 77 percent of hired employees shared the same positive sentiment.
In an era where small businesses are facing threats that put their very existence into question, they need all the help they can get. While staffing agencies can’t solve all of their problems, they do help small businesses stay nimble when uncertainty is all around them
Robert A. Funk founded Express Employment Professionals in 1983 and has helped spearhead its growth into becoming a billion dollar company with more than 550 locations in four countries. For more information, visit www.expresspros.com. Follow them at @ExpressPros.