1997s Hottest Businesses

Specialized Staffing

Staffing services have been booming for nearly a decade. In recent years, providing employees who have specialized skills--such as legal or accounting expertise--has emerged as an especially hot market segment, as companies find that hiring people with high-level skills on a temporary basis is much less expensive than keeping them on staff.

The latest trends in this field? Supplying long-term and temporary-to-permanent employees continues to be hot. Currently, says Bruce Steinberg of the National Association of Temporary and Staffing Services (NATSS), employees with technical and information technology backgrounds are on the most-wanted list. Also hot is the professional segment, which includes workers with legal, accounting and management backgrounds.

Despite the demand for workers, there are significant challenges in this industry: Finding adequate capitalization and qualified workers can be difficult, says Steinberg. You must also be cautious when expanding; it's essential to keep a tight rein on receivables while continuing to heavily promote your business.

"We do a tremendous amount of marketing," says Barry Cohen, co-owner of New York City-based Response Staffing Services, a staffing company specializing in providing permanent and temporary professional-level employees. "You're always looking for new business, so you've got to keep your name out there."

Despite the challenges, the industry outlook is good: According to NATSS, the overall industry receipts jumped an impressive 10.8 percent to reach $20.8 billion in the first half of this year as compared with the $18.8 billion earned in the first six months of 1995.

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This article was originally published in the December 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: 1997s Hottest Businesses.

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