Build Your Business:

Creating Your Dream Team, Part 1

February 8, 2016

Owning and running a business can be stressful, but finding and keeping the right employees can help your operation run smoothly. The following are ways to find new workers besides using your local state employment agency or running an ad in the newspaper.

The first way is as close as your next delivery. Who would know better about businesses close by that are closing or moving than your UPS, FedEx drivers and USPS personnel? Tell them you are looking to hire and they can keep a lookout and also let others know you are looking. 

Contacting nearby churches is another way to let a lot of people close to you know you have an opening for new employees. Make a flyer with the information needed, and mail or drop it off at the church office. Be sure you are as specific as you can be about what you are looking for and the demands of the job (business name, location, phone number, person to ask for when calling, must be over 18, some weekend work required, etc.) Make sure to provide times to call. You also can add a couple of applications with each flyer.

Delivery people and churches are a great place to start because of proximity. If individuals looking for jobs don’t have a car then they may be close enough to walk to work.

Asking your current employees for referrals can be both good and bad. You may already be familiar with the person they recommend and it could provide an opportunity for your employees to carpool. But, while knowing family and friends of your employees is a good thing, telling them you don’t want to hire one of them can be tricky. 

If you live in a larger city that has markets and shops, try placing flyers on the bulletin boards. I have found this to be a great strategy for finding employees.

Another place to look for employees are dependency treatment facilities. (I know what you’re thinking. Hire someone that has a drug problem? Don’t turn away from the idea. I have found some of my best and longest lasting employees at treatment facilities.) After several steps are met during treatment, all residents are required to find a job. You, so to speak, have a captive audience, and facilities won’t allow someone to take a job before they are ready. This does several things. It can take the person out of their old environment and give them the opportunity to try something new and different. It also teaches them a new trade so they don’t have to go back to their old job, and their old ways. It will require a little work on your part to setup meetings with the director and counselors, and to communicate exactly what you expect. (Two of the three men I trained stayed with me for more than three years and then moved on — one to continue as a machine operator and the other ended up managing a small embroidery shop in another town.)

You never know whom you will find by just talking to the person next to you in line at the grocery store. Keep business cards handy, and while you wait for your morning coffee let the lady beside you know you are looking for a motivated person to work for you. If you are impressed by the guy that delivers your pizza, let him know if he ever decides to change jobs to come and see you. Don’t be shy. This is your business so let everyone know it’s a great place to work.

I have always hated filling out generic employment applications. Create your own that is specific to your business, so that you can better determine whether the applicant is someone you will want to bring in for a face-to-face interview. Make sure to be clear about your needs (hours required, weekend availability, etc.) and include information that would be important to a new employee (whether you are a no smoking facility, consequences for misconduct, etc.). Whatever your employee handbook states, they should know upfront. 

Follow these tips and you should be on your way to finding your next great employee. 

Connie R. Smith has been in the embroidery industry for more than 30 years and has been an industry speaker and consultant. She also is an award-winning digitizer. For more information or to comment on this article, email Connie at