Attracting A-Level Talent With a C-Level Budget

04/02/2013 03:46 pm ET | Updated Oct 22, 2013

As the economy heats up and the talent pool dries out, it becomes more and more challenging to secure the high quality talent that is needed to keep a small business operation humming along, especially when it is experiencing the same level of business growth so many other companies are enjoying as the economy improves.

So do you just work the talent you have harder? Or bring less talented prospects and hope to build them up? Or go to your banker to secure more funds to entice the best of the best to work for your team?

Intrinsically, within each small business, we offer value to new hires that goes well beyond a paycheck. A couple of unique ideas to consider:

  • Flexible Hours. Whether raising a family, launching a budding acting career or loving the great outdoors, workers of all ages have a full life outside of the workplace. Enticing your new hires with the ability to have the flexibility to enjoy these pursuits can be just the perk a talented newcomer to your organization is looking for and something many of the "big guys" just cannot offer.

  • Comfortable Working Atmosphere. For some the pure fact that your office is casual, comfortable and inviting is enough for them to want to be part of your team. The seating in our office is different for everyone (from traditional chairs and recliners, to stools and inflated balls) depending on their preference and the deck and the workout room in our building get ample use. Rooftop picnic areas, comfortable lounges. lunches together and after work social gatherings are all ways to set your workplace apart and attract new recruits.
  • Contact, Contact, Contacts. Your business contacts can be a great enticement for a new hire, especially if they are new to a city or an industry. How often does the CEO of a major corporation take time to invite the new guy/gal to meet some of his or her cronies? But as a small business owner you can invite your new hires out on jobs to meet clients, to networking events to meet people in the industry and (as appropriate) on business lunches. Professional business introductions is just another strategic advantage for the little guy over the big guy as related to hiring!
  • In The Action. For most small, and many mid-sized businesses new hires are not brought in to "sit on the sidelines" but rather to contribute and often contribute quickly. A new hire who wants experience, client contact and the ability to use his or her education and background to contribute will find these opportunities come much quicker working at a smaller company where their voice and ideas are more likely to be heard.
  • Red Tape. If I have learned one thing over my 25+ years in business it is that large corporations seem to pride themselves on red tape. The amount of paperwork, sign offs, approvals, meetings, etc to complete a project can be insurmountable. While this bureaucratic process may have a place in corporate America to be sure that large mistakes are not made, small business can be much more nimble. So if you are a recent hire with solid ideas, the opportunity that those ideas are implemented in an efficient and profitable manner is much greater at a small business than working for a Fortune 500 company.
  • So while major corporations may be able to offer more money, better benefit packages and even more company swag, the small business owner is inherently blessed with strategic competitive advantages that large corporations could only dream of!

    This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.