Superior corporate performance is a product of sustained access to a superior knowledge base and capabilities. This perspective builds upon the present market demand for a stellar product and corporate performances as intense competition turns every sector of the global economy into an arena for exciting ‘bull-fight’ among businesses competing for every dollar and cent available in the wallets of the over 7.8 billion world population.
Small and medium enterprises which provide services and sell products to a sizable consumer-base in local markets are not spared. As large firms tighten the grips on the market by poaching the best brains to deliver highly tailored services and products to woo local consumers across markets, the small firms, which provide a livelihood to over 70% of households across all continents, need to step up to the aggressive market raid to survive the current innovation and cost-driven marketplace.
The continued market relevance of SMEs, therefore, depends on the abilities of their workers to consistently conceive and deliver highly competitive services and products that surpass or match competitors’ (including the well-funded and well-staffed large industry players) offerings.
Jordyn Dal, Small Business Editor at LinkedIn News, weighed-in with an apt view of the current market. She wrote, “As small firms look to the future and what product or service developed during the pandemic has staying power, talent will be a key fixture of continued grow and innovation. And now is the time to poach talent”.
Dal’s view aligned with the thinking at Service Futures, an organization run by Denmark-based ISS-World. The Danish outfit explained, “To compete in this economy, companies need sophisticated talent with global acumen, multicultural fluency, technological literacy, entrepreneurial skills, and the ability to manage increasingly delayered, disaggregated organizations”.
Small businesses are limited in terms of access to finance which is key to attracting and sustaining top talent. But the growing popularity of professional freelancers who offer services that can help strengthen the quality of the products and services coming through the essential value-chain is a timely recourse for the nimble and ambitious small businesses emerging across cities.
Freelancers bring a wealth of experience, besides top skills, to drive the vision of the hiring firms without the extra-costs and headaches (internal hiccoughs) attached to housing permanent employees.
Robert Flam, the founder of New York-based Jailhouse Coffee, is an example of a small business that has successfully leveraged the freelance pool to grow its business. Although the business was constrained by limited access to funding, the entrepreneur who started selling his Coffee brand from the back of his SUV has succeeded in extending the brand to “shelves in markets and groceries in every state along the east coast, most of the U.S. Midwest, in Southern California and even in Japan through a joint venture arrangement”, according to Forbes’ Jon Younger.
Flam, himself, described his strategy for business growth: “I’ll need to hire a small full-time team: it’s all about coordination and logistics. After a certain size of business, it is essential that we support our partners with good information, ongoing communication, work closely with them, and challenge them to do a better and more efficient job as part of our total network. That’s not to say they aren’t doing great work now – they are – but as we grow, both the opportunities and the risks grow. However, we’ll still be primarily freelance based. It’s the future.”
Robert Flam’s Jailhouse Coffee success story is proof that SMEs can tap the freelance pool of top brains to deliver services and products that will guarantee their continued relevance. Here are three (3) critical advantages both small and large enterprises can derive from hiring freelancers:
A. Access to a broad list of specialized brains: Platforms that help businesses connect with freelancers often work hard to source, categorize, promote and monitor activities of independent workers in a bid to ensure the very best experts are listed on their portals. One example of these useful platforms is TERAWORK, a specialized web portal for vetted highly-skilled freelancers who have garnered experience from years of rendering services for top companies. It offers the essential workforce solutions for SMEs that are willing to scale and maintain market relevance. Like so many other freelance networks, the portal houses hundreds of freelancers that can help small and large businesses stay consistently competitive and successful.
B. Globalized pool of talents: Freelance software engineers, legal advisers, accountants and tax experts, graphic artists, web designers, business plan experts, app builders, digital marketers, writers, and more from Africa, Europe, South America, and Asia are available on freelance web portals. The global pool of independent experts works for ambitious businesses that aim to develop and deliver work class services. Isn’t it true that delivering work class services would require deploying racial levels of competence which can only be sourced across borders? The successes of Reed Hastings’ Netflix and Google are an instance. Both businesses have always globalized their search for top talents – any wonder why they are global performers!
C. Cost-saving plus efficiency: Higher productivity is key to staying competitive. The 9-5 model of work cannot be said to be working anymore as proven by the pandemic. Therefore it is no longer sound productivity logic to keep a bloated line of full-time employees that gossip and fret in-between work. Since interconnectivity is now rife, work can be outsourced or contracted to any part of the globe where the best talent is based, while every engagement is tied to a stern delivery deadline and criteria. These heightened expectations seal the loopholes found in housing an emotionally exhausting line of full-time employees who despite the wasted work-hours loaded with gist and ‘burnt-time’ would look forward to being remunerated in full on every 30th day of each month.