7 Tips for Startups: How to Become More Competitive as a Prospective Employer

The staggering number of startups each year implies that more and more people are choosing to be their own bosses. Some say that this paradigm shift is due to the global economic recession that happened over a decade ago. Meanwhile, others attribute the growth of startups to advancements in technology that have made launching a small business so much easier.

Whatever may be the reason behind the impressive number of new enterprises popping up, what’s important is there is a thriving business sector. However, one observation has been made about this particular development; a lot of these startups choose to set up in bigger and more competitive cities. Therefore, smaller cities see a continuous outflow of local workers.

This creates a problem for home-based and small businesses that choose to stay where they are because they lose out on young and skillful workers. Despite the presence of these “good” businesses, workers head to the big cities because they believe better career prospects await them there.

If you are a business owner in your small town or city, how do you compete with the draw of the startups and long-established enterprises in the big city? No matter where your business is located, here are some tips you can trust to help your company advance in its industry, and to attract and keep top talent.

1. Team up with other business owners, experts and stakeholders in your area.

Reach out to business owners like you and discuss the problem. From clearly identifying the reasons behind the issue, you all can brainstorm ideas on how to make your growing businesses attract job-seekers, and keep them.

Get your community involved as well. Reach out to local business specialists, university professors, and even artists.

Meet and interact and increase the ideas that you are working with to make your small city more appealing to valuable human resources not just from your area but other areas as well. Likewise, come up with creative ways to effectively bridge the barriers between the different local industries.

With more minds gathering together, you will be able to have an abundance of strategies to try.

2. Seek the services of top recruitment agencies.

Sit down with a recruitment consultant from a reputable agency and discuss how your business can gain more exposure in the job search community. Additionally, learn some of the best tips to become an appealing employer to both young and experienced workers looking for a job that can advance them greatly in their careers.

A recruitment consultant can share with you the standards big businesses from the big cities uphold that seem to be among the reasons why job seekers leave their hometowns.

3. Spread information about the local business community.

Attend job fairs and university festivals to disseminate information about the excellent small and medium businesses in your area. This is the perfect opportunity to grab the attention of students who are already exploring career options. This way, they will know that there are great local companies to consider for future employment.

4. Make work-life balance a policy.

Such a policy is always a big lure for job seekers. Upholding a work-life balance policy indicates a unique dynamism to operations, which many competitive workers are looking for. Today’s successful professionals know the value of having a balanced life.  A job in an SME that is challenging and exciting, but also allows them to cultivate a healthy personal life is deemed a blessing or a huge reward.

5. Focus on improving benefits.

Providing beneficial working conditions is essential in securing employee engagement and satisfaction as more and more people want a job that not only pays well but also does not skimp on added benefits.

On the other hand, some companies that do not offer huge salaries get to keep their employees by rewarding their people with excellent healthcare, performance-based incentives and rewards that aim to make the lives of their staff easier. These include company transportation, monthly basic grocery supplies, employee discounts, etc.

Aside from the usual annual and sick leaves, it is also vital to consider the provision of maternity and paternity leaves and child care programs. These are attractive work features for working parents, and women, especially solo career moms.

You may think that small businesses have a lot to lose by providing such programs, but in this day and age wherein women are often the strongest performers in business organizations, it is absolutely worth it to put such programs in place.

6. Do not forget to highlight the attractions of your community.

Small towns and cities have their own charm, and you can use it to your advantage. Play up the charm when advertising or marketing as an employer. There are a lot of job seekers who are in search of a change of pace and scenery. Thus, pointing out the fine points of your area can make them interested in working for a growing business in what may be a remote, small town.

7. Create a lovely workplace.

The look of your workplace says so much about the business’s attitude, values, and where it is headed. No matter how small your office or store is, make it beautiful. Work with an interior fit-out company to make your workspace visually appealing, as well as functional.

Compete with big city businesses

Startups in smaller cities can definitely go head to head with SMEs, and even long-established companies in big urban locations as long as they adopt the right approach. With these tips, small-town businesses like yours can attract high-quality workers and ensure steady growth.


David Mackenzie, a recruitment professional with over 20 years’ experience in the field and a record of entrepreneurial accomplishment, is Managing Director and Head of HR at Mackenzie Jones. As the Group MD, David is responsible for the overall direction of the Mackenzie Jones Group, including Mackenzie Jones, MumsAtWork, MENA Solutions, Simply Digital and ThinkTech.

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