Why Small Businesses Should Be Thinking (and Hiring) Globally During Covid-19 Isolation

The United States recently announced a 2020 hold on H-1B Visas. Here's what that could mean for your business.

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By Jeff Barrett

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Three months into COVID-19 and there are a lot of new normals, new things to consider and new ways to improve your business as things shift.

As we focus on the obvious things like the rise of Zoom and consumer reluctance in frequenting things like gyms and movie theaters, there will be small, under-the-radar ways to keep your business moving and create advantages.

Last week it was announced that the United States will be suspending all H-1B Visas for highly-skilled foreign workers. (Read a recap of all the details that went into effect and will continue through the rest of the year.)

It's the kind of headline that can get lost in a news cycle. Large tech giants are certainly focused on attracting top foreign talent, but as a small business owner or startup entrepreneur, this might not be on your radar.

Related: What It Takes to Launch a Successful Online Clothing Brand in 2020

Here is why you should be paying attention. There are going to be a lot of talented, skilled workers unable to enter the United States but still looking to create something here. And since we are all getting much better at communicating through Zoom, Slack, Teams and other solutions, this opens up a whole new prospect of global collaborative opportunities.

That's one part. American entrepreneurs looking to create more business globally are going to have to be concerned with an inverse as the European Union considers a travel ban for all Americans as a Covid-19 precaution. With traveling halted, that's also going to make creating business opportunities more difficult but not impossible.

Related: How the Behavior of Job-Seekers Has Changed Since February (Infographic)

Creating a lot of quick and meaningful global business relationships, especially remotely, is an overwhelming challenge if you don't know where to start or you're doing things one at a time. So, you have to figure out who can make connections to multiple people across the globe.

Finding global talent

This is where it comes back full circle to H-1B Visas. The best matchmaker right now is going to be an agency that works with all the foreign talent already looking to enter the United States. These agencies typically offer sponsorship, legal services through the visa process as long as a company is willing to pay their salary.

While that business model is on temporary hold, these kinds of agencies will still be able to and want to help broker quick business relationships so hopefully, everyone can win in a time of uncertainty.

Related: Former FBI Agent's Call to Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders: Love Is the Cure for Social Injustice

Universities and alumni networks are a little less direct but still a good source. If you're already tapped into a network or your school has a strong foreign business program, it's a good lead. Then there's always social media if you have a big enough platform to try and generate relationships.

The biggest takeaway here is that even though we are going to be globally isolated for a while, there is still a lot of opportunity out there and the technology to allow us to make things happen. Everyone has to pivot. Top global talent will be temporarily looking for different avenues and that will benefit the entrepreneurs willing to think beyond isolation.

Jeff Barrett

CEO of Status Creative

Jeff Barrett has traveled to nearly every state writing about startup ecosystems. He has won the Shorty Award, and is a Webby Award nominee. He creates dynamic campaigns and influencer networks for Fortune 500 clients including Adobe and Oracle.

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