COVID-19: Alert bar

Why temporary staffing can help you through those busy periods

It kind of comes with the territory for small business owners to at times be overworked and understaffed. Running a business is no nine-to-five gig, but such compromises and sacrifices are the pay off for the ability to be your own boss.

Entrepreneurial spirit isn’t just about executing big ideas, it’s about formulating strategies to optimise resourcing, whether that’s cost-saving measures to maximise profitability or processes focused on simplifying business. Any successful entrepreneur knows one thing: they don’t know it all. But what they do understand is how to plug the gaps in their capabilities at the right times.

Why temp staff?

Every business has its busy cycles. For B2C eCommerce businesses, that usually means the Christmas sales peak. For other types of business there might be seasonal spikes (say, for a pool supplies company in the lead up to summer) or big projects and contracts that come along and stretch resources.

These periods often necessitate more hands on deck, but it’s difficult to justify additional staff year round. Fortunately, the modern economy is teeming with contract and freelance talent that can be called on for such purposes.

Know where to focus your efforts

Without you, there would be no business, so it’s critical that your skills are deployed where they’re most required. There’s no point licking envelopes in the stockroom if the website is down.

Pulling in extra help for smaller tasks leaves you to focus on the really important stuff like driving the business or developing ideas and strategy. Having temp employees take care of things like sending out orders or tending to customer enquiries frees you up for other things. Someone has to steer the ship, and in your small business the captain is most likely to be you!

Don’t try to wear all your hats at once

Temporary staffing solutions let you tap into a variety of capabilities when you need them. Just because the buck stops with you doesn’t mean you have to do everything.

Sometimes you need to call on different skills or there may be certain areas of the business where someone else can do a better or more efficient job—and at peak periods, efficiency is everything.

That might mean calling on a charismatic personality to handle customer enquiries or to hold down the fort at a trade show booth. Perhaps you’d benefit from a detail-oriented employee to oversee data entry or someone who can lift and move inventory quickly and securely for improved safety and efficiency.

Your temp staffing options

Like everything in small business, temporary staffing solutions come down to resourcing. There are all sorts of temp agencies with a roster of capable candidates ready to be deployed.

Bear in mind that going through an agency comes with higher costs—you’re not just paying for the labour but for the agent to find you the right talent. The rise of the gig economy means that it’s easier than ever for small business owners to directly engage temp staff through resourcing task marketplaces such as Upwork or Airtasker.

Remember that not every role requires staff to be on site, so consider whether you can use remote workers. If committing financial resources towards extra help isn’t viable, consider taking on an intern or offering work experience placements. The key transaction here is to make sure you can offer candidates hands-on experience and training in an area where they’re looking to upskill or develop their knowledge.

Reach out to your networks

If you’re really nice, who’s to say you can’t recruit magnanimous friends or family to lend a hand and pay them in gratitude? During peak periods, it really is a matter of whatever it takes to get the job done.

Don’t forget that Australia Post small business customers can call us on 13 11 18, chat to us online 24/7 through MyPost Business or visit one of our Business Hubs and chat to an expert in person.

Get business stories, ideas and offers in your inbox each month.