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Small business owners usually experience challenges attracting skills required, at a cost the business can afford. Oftentimes, the business is unable to afford the cost associated with hiring highly skilled; blue collared, and white collared employees, on a full time basis. It’s a challenge trying to prioritize spending, to ensure the critical needs of the business are met. The small business owner gets easily overwhelmed, trying to juggle many aspects of the enterprise. In a production based business; like fashion or catering, it is common to find the business owner cutting fabric and sewing, shopping for foodstuff, and cooking the food. The accounting function is either left unaddressed, or it is done manually using registers. In a few cases, the business owner uses a spreadsheet or an accounting software.

When prioritizing operational expenditure, the focus is on products and services, which will drive brand visibility and sales. In many instances, a business owner would rather spend on social media marketing, and ignore bookkeeping and accounting needs. Furthermore, if you run a business in Nigeria, staffing issues go beyond pricing and affordability. Ethical issues are a major challenge for trading and production based businesses, where you have raw material and finished goods inventory. Pilfering by blue collared workers is a common occurrence. As a business owner; you need to avoid burnout, you need a life outside of the business, and you need a strong and reliable team. You also need reliable systems, with checks and balances.

In solving the people puzzle in your business, you can consider the following options:

  1. Share the annual cost of a highly skilled professional, such as an accountant or technology expert, with other business owners.
  2. Operate a model where your full time employees, have flexi-time, and a telecommuting option, and can officially ‘juggle’ the job you’ve offered with a ‘side hustle.’
  3. Make your business an attractive ‘side hustle’ to highly skilled professionals, and pay fees instead of salaries.
  4. Recruit highly skilled blue collared workers, on a permanent basis, and offer competitive remuneration.
  5. Put in place a structured internship program where skilled workers train low skilled workers.
  6. Reward skilled blue-collared workers for helping to develop the talent in your business.
  7. For production based businesses, early career, white-collared workers, can be employed as supervisors.
  8. For service based businesses, have a good mix of early career and experienced white collared employees. Recognize the side hustle, and don’t make it an issue, as long as it doesn’t affect the work in your firm.
  9. For production based businesses; put in place control systems which will help with the prevention, and early detection of pilfering. Acquire an accounting software with an inventory management system, ensure production and sales entries are posted daily. Do a physical stock count every other day, and reconcile physical figures with system figures. Ensure that production and sales figures, align with raw material consumption. Have an auditor check the books of the business, on a monthly or quarterly basis. Emplace Close Circuit Television (CCTV).
  10. As a business owner, and manager; make sure you take breaks from the business. Shut down and rest, from time to time.

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