Help Wanted! Effective Staffing Solutions for Lean Times

Learn effective methods for getting things done with alternative staffing solutions that won’t break the bank.
Latest posts by Cari Sommer (see all)

Everywhere you look these days, you hear stories of businesses trying to cut costs so that they can ride out these turbulent economic times. One friend recently told us that her company took out every third lightbulb in her office so they’d save money on electricity (We’re not kidding!).    

As an entrepreneur, living lean is nothing new. In fact, it’s your motto when trying to build your dream venture. It certainly is ours. But with time as our most valuable resource, one of the challenges that so many of us continue to face is finding cost-effective ways to delegate time consuming tasks without breaking the bank. We’re all looking for that extra set of hands, but few of us are ready—in this market—to jump right into a full-time hire.   

Luckily, there are a lot of other ways to find the help you need. Creativity counts, so as you’re doing your search, consider the following:

Cost-effective Staffing Solutions

Part-time, Temp, or Project-based

Hiring someone on an as-needed basis, whether for a few hours a week, for a specific project, or to fill in the holes until you’re ready to make that ongoing commitment is a great place to start when hiring. It allows you to ramp up or cut back your costs as your client needs dictate.

Virtual Work

In order to save money on office space, consider bringing someone on to work virtually. Who doesn’t have a laptop and a cell phone these days?

Unpaid Intern

College students and recent grads are sadly looking out into one of the toughest job markets in history. They’re increasingly considering unpaid internships as a great way to build skills and get some experience and industry knowledge. This tech savvy generation can add a ton of value to your organization, even if a stopgap until they find the job of their dreams.

Management of Your New Staff

Whether you decide to bring someone on in a part-time, temporary, or a project basis, your new hire is tasked with getting up to speed on your company and your culture quickly. On the best of days, you’re likely juggling too many things (precisely the reason you need help!). As you bring someone in, especially if they don’t have the benefit of being around you full time to learn your likes and dislikes, it’s important to clearly communicate your expectations so that your saving grace can quickly get up to speed and make their time as productive as possible. A few tips:

Project Scope

Define the scope of the project. Is it based on time-per-week or specific deliverables? You know your business like the back of your hand, but someone new does not. The more background info you give, whether about the dynamics of a situation or industry context, the better he or she will be able to perform.


Method of checking in and mechanism for feedback: Do you like to speak to the people on your team every day or do you prefer being contacted on a need to know basis? Do you incessantly email or does someone need to track you down on the phone to get a quick response. Should it be assumed that work product is good unless you say otherwise, or do you closely review every sentence? These tips, while second-nature to you, provide valuable insight and should be passed along.


Last but not least, if organization is not your strong suit, the thought of keeping someone else organized can seem downright daunting. Consider using shared task lists and to-do lists (e.g., we love, which is free and easy) as a communication platform to keep you and your newest team member on track.

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