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How to Get Help without Hiring Full-Time Workers Business may be better, but some owners remain slow to hire. Here's how to meet your employment needs without the commitment.

By Carol Tice Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's been the biggest problem of the recession -- small business owners aren't doing much hiring. That started to turn around last year, but a new Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index poll shows there is now big pent-up demand for workers.

In the study, more than half of entrepreneurs said they hired new workers last year. But more tellingly, among those who added staff, 42 percent reported hiring fewer workers than they really needed.

What does it mean? It appears we're at an inflection point.

Business is picking up as the recession frost finally thaws, but owners are still scared to make a hiring commitment. Asked to list all their reasons for not hiring, nearly 80 percent of respondents said they feared sales wouldn't justify more hiring. Another issue: 70 percent said they've got cash-flow or payroll problems.

Really fascinating note for the unemployed: 62 percent of the owners surveyed said they couldn't find qualified people to fill positions. More than half were worried about healthcare costs, too.

Whatever the worries, deferring hiring can often result in lost revenue because businesses with fewer resources aren't necessarily equipped to capture all of the opportunities available to them. There are, however, ways to bring on help that doesn't cost a bundle. Here are six ideas:

  1. Hire an intern. College business schools and high-school Future Business Leaders groups are always looking for case studies to promote and internship programs students can use to gain experience.
  2. Look at tax breaks. If you hire a person in a particular category -- longtime unemployed or returning veteran, for instance -- tax breaks may reimburse you for part of their pay.
  3. Hire a part-timer. Get workers for peak hours or key tasks that could be done a few hours a day, or just a couple days a week.
  4. Hire on a contract. If you have a project you think would bring more revenue, hire to the project. If the project is a success and you want to expand, you can always make that part-timer a permanent member of your staff at a later date.
  5. Consider a teen. There is massive teen unemployment right now -- it's nearly triple the overall national rate. If you have anything that could be done in after-school hours or on weekends, a teen could help at an affordable rate.
  6. Outsource abroad. I know, I know. But if you can't afford to hire an assistant to schedule appointments or do other simple tasks here, one in India might free up more of your time for driving new business. Once revenue recovers, you could move to a full-time, onsite staffer.

Do you need to add staff? Leave a comment and let us know what obstacles stand in your way.

Carol Tice

Owner of Make a Living Writing

Longtime Seattle business writer Carol Tice has written for Entrepreneur, Forbes, Delta Sky and many more. She writes the award-winning Make a Living Writing blog. Her new ebook for Oberlo is Crowdfunding for Entrepreneurs.

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