One of the big complaints from our clients right now is a skills shortage: it’s very challenging for businesses to find quality employees, especially in highly-skilled roles. So this month, I’m looking closely at skilled staff shortage solutions.
“The scarcity of skilled and unskilled labour is at the most acute on record over the history of the survey, with firms finding it particularly difficult to hire skilled labour,” according to the NZIER.
How do you grow your business when you’re struggling to grow your workforce?
The Government would like you to upskill your existing team members, which is certainly a good start. But that’s of limited help if you need more people and more skills simultaneously – which is what many of our clients are facing. Hiring from offshore is more difficult than it’s ever been, and head-hunting is rife; Australian employers in a similar situation are on the prowl for Kiwi workers.
I believe there’s another option for certain types of businesses. One possibility that’s rarely mentioned is purchasing a competitor. Merging or acquiring another small business could help you to get the talent you need. Combining your existing team members with new staff across two merged businesses can create better efficiency, greater profitability, and more opportunity for growth.
Obviously, this is not a potential solution for the primary sector, but for other sectors it has potential. And although it won’t do anything to fix the nationwide skilled staff shortage, it could boost your specific business.
Investing in expansion
Check out the competition: is there another small business, working in your field, which has some of the talent you need? Can you acquire, or merge with, that business?
It takes a considerable amount of capital to purchase a competitor’s business. That money may be an exceptional investment if you already run a profitable operation and you can grow it significantly. Given how difficult it is to find outstanding returns on investments right now, putting your money into your own enterprise might pay serious dividends.
Alternatively, you could find a private lender who is prepared to invest in your business. Private equity investors are looking for solid businesses where they can lend their capital, through online platforms or via ‘angel investors’.
Buying another business is not an obvious or easy solution to a skills shortage for your business. But if there was an obvious or easy solution, you’d already be doing it. You’re facing a frustrating array of challenges: global shipping chaos, rising prices, ongoing coronavirus, plus all your usual customer issues on top. Thinking creatively could be the difference between thriving and simply surviving. When your competition is stuck, you can find a way to forge ahead.
Coming up with fresh ideas on complex challenges is one of the skills we pride ourselves on at SME. We like our clients to have an edge in their industry, and we do everything we can to help. If you’re looking for some creative thinking to drive your business growth, get in touch.