Barely a day passes without the business media harping on the low unemployment rate and how hard it is to find and keep good people. Will you be able to adequately staff your new venture?
The short answer is yes . . . with creativity and diligence. "You need to think outside the box," says Urbach. "The typical employment 'box' is a person who's fully qualified and ready to work 40 hours per week. Instead, you should first define what you really need; then consider alternatives to that traditional full-time person, such as part-timers or outsourcing."
Urbach says good part-timers can be found "on either end of the work spectrum-those who are young and going to school, or those who are more mature and still have a great deal to offer but don't want to work full time." Another potential group of employees: mothers who want challenging jobs but need flexible hours so they're only working when their children are in school.
If you do need that full-time, highly experienced individual, offer him or her a stake in your company as an incentive to work for you. (Think of all the Home Depot employees who've become millionaires through their employee stock purchase plan!) There are a number of ways to approach this, and you may want to protect yourself with a buy-sell agreement should the employee leave the company. "Don't do this on your own with a self-help book," says Urbach. "Spend the money to have an attorney advise you."
Get creative when you're looking for people. Don't just place an ad in the daily newspaper; find other ways to reach prospective employees, such as networking, advertising on the Web or using your state's job-placement service and school-placement offices. Vocational schools aren't merely a source for employees; they may also be able to customize training programs for you.
And don't overlook people who are already working. Even if you can't offer them more money, you may be able to entice them in other ways. "So many people like their salary but hate their job situation," says Urbach. "It's worth money to people to have a good place to work."
Gorman's young company can't afford to pay competitive wages; instead, he offers workers more autonomy in their jobs. He also gives certain employees additional responsibilities and corresponding authority, which makes their work more satisfying. And he makes it clear that employees who hang in there through the early days will have plenty of opportunities for advancement as the company grows-and it certainly will, because Gorman isn't about to let any roadblocks stop him.