How You Can Compete With Any Business For Top Talent.e_darrellj | Apr 26, 2013
Elance CEO Fabio Rosati is a regular contributor to the American Express OPEN Forum, the financial giant’s online site powering small business success. Below is a recent column from Fabio discussing how companies are no longer limited by their size. See the original post here.
As the referee says before players take the field, “May the best team win.”
In the business world, however, the “best team” has traditionally been at companies with the deeper pockets, most-recognizable brand and best hiring location. Although small businesses frequently have better ideas and more inspired leadership, they’re often hamstrung by their inability to find the skilled talent needed to pull off the upset.
Fortunately, a change is afoot in today’s workforce. Growing at twice the rate of traditional employees, America’s freelancers, consultants and temps now make up to 25% of the workforce. Armed with a laptop and web connection, the 21st century workforce can connect with businesses around the corner and across the globe with a few keystrokes, lending their skills as needed.
Small businesses can take advantage of this game-changing shift to out-maneuver the big boys. Any small business can go online and instantly gain access to a much bigger talent pool - from designers to coders and app developers, creative writers and editors, researchers and social media marketers, customer service agents, data analysts and myriads of other specializations.
This new landscape is also the result of changes in lifestyle. Just a generation ago a typical employee could land a job right out of college with a large company, and reasonably expect to stay there for his or her entire career. Contrast that with this startling statistic from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: As of 2010, the average time an American worker will stay at any job has plummeted to less than four and a half years.
Embracing the new workforce is critical for any business competing for talent. It’s also a home run for businesses in remote locations or areas with a struggling local economy, as they can now find talent anywhere.
When accessing talent online, the playing field is more level: Xan Hood, Founder of the outdoor clothing company Buffalo Jackson Trading Co. is a case in point. “I started with $300 and a dream,” said Xan. He then went on to build and grow his popular outfitter company almost exclusively by hiring people online. “I was able to build my company by building an entire team virtually,” he says.
Buffalo Jackson Trading Co. is just one of thousands of small businesses now discovering how to compete better by extending their workforces online. The result is a true meritocracy when the best entrepreneur wins the race to talent, regardless of location, size or stock price.
Note: Portions of this article originally appeared on American Express OPEN Forum.