Can a business operate without staff? Yes, however, most companies need workers, and people need jobs to earn an income; therefore, most companies are better off with people. There’s no harm in starting a business without staff. Let’s face it, and it’s just not that easy to get the skills or experience anyway.
High vacancy rates for trained and skilled workers threatens the survival of hundreds of thousands of businesses everywhere from the UK to the USA and Australia. So, where to next for these companies?
It’s not just the competition to secure skilled workers that’s on the minds of management but also how to retain the staff they’ve got. When there is high demand for and lack of supply of skilled workers, businesses need to realise that every employee is talking with recruiters and considering other roles.
Full-time staff are more transient, attracted by higher incomes, better work/life conditions, and different company cultures. COVID-19 was a wake-up call for unhappy staff. The reality is most workers don’t like their jobs. Therefore given half a chance, workers will resign and take up a new role without a second thought.
Businesses desperate to retain key personnel need to compete for their loyalty. Offering incentives include:
- higher income
- favourable work terms
- fast-tracking career path
There’s no doubt the stress of keeping staff happy is felt far and wide within the business and externally – in performance and profit.
Existing staff have many choices, and one is they can leave full-time employment for freelancing.
Businesses can also engage in outsourcing, using freelancers, aka contractors, and transition more tasks to automation and software to do the work typically done by humans.
AI in most departments
Squeezed margins due to more competition are forcing change management processes in every area of the business. Technology to do tasks once done by humans is the priority. Software that behaves intelligently e.g. AI, Machine Learning (ML), NLP is now deep in many departments including:
- Marketing – ML – customer discovery
- Accounts – ML – data analysis
- Customer support – AI-powered chatbots
- HR – ML recruitment search
- Legal – smart contracts
The talk of robots ruling the world is not new. For years we have fretted about our very existence in the workforce and what will happen when robots get a foothold in most business areas.
Machines and technology are replacing humans, but this is not due to the pandemic. Since the industrial age, machines have improved efficiencies and productivity, relinquishing reliance on humans to do the work.
Due to COVID-19, a million people have lost their jobs in the USA alone. Forbes says 30% of tasks are now done by automation and rather than hiring staff more tasks will be automated.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom as humans are required in managing software and systems.
Workers can be trained in new roles, and entrepreneurs keen to create commercial enterprises that don’t need full-time staff also have options.
Set Up A Business – No Staff Required
Let’s look at what businesses can succeed without full-time staff.
Setting up a dropshipping business does not require full-time staff. Every function can be outsourced and using freelancers to manage tasks like:
- Website admin, development
- Digital marketing
- Social media
- Accounts payable
Plus where you can use software and apps including chatbots, CMS, dropshipping platforms.
Set yourself up as a tutor or coach. There are many opportunities to show off your skills and earn money teaching and coaching people in business, sport, arts and education. Upwork is a popular freelancer platform for marrying freelancers with jobs.
Online learning is a growth industry with software and apps to entice students and teachers.
All you need to do is work out what you want to teach and find online learning platforms that facilitate the course material and work.
Marketing is where you can find a niche and excel. Most micro and SMEs have few, if any, dedicated marketers on their payroll. Freelancing as a marketing expert will provide variety and continuity. When a business finds a marketer that knows their business and delivers the campaigns that convert to sales, they continue to engage their services. There are many areas of digital marketing, too, so you can find one that resonates with you, including:
- Blogger – content marketer
- Social media marketer
- PPC advertising
- SEO and SEM expert
- Email marketer
Every business needs its marketing budget to deliver a healthy ROI, and part of the success is hiring experts. For example content marketing is a skill your SEO expert is not likely to have and vice versa.
Finally, setting yourself as a freelancer in your area of expertise is one way you can manage your career and income without the constraints or uncertainty of full-time employment and contracts.
Working remotely for on and offshore companies is the new normal for freelancers.
Online payment providers like PayPal make invoicing and payments in different currencies easy, and you can get verified too so your clients can trust you. For example, PayPal has a payments disputes service, which is invaluable for offshore transactions.
How businesses engage, workers are evolving. A full-time job for life is no longer achievable.
Employees are on fixed-term contracts and often need to reapply for their jobs and often compete for them. The worldwide skills shortage has been an opportunity for workers keen to freelance, and technology has been the enabler for startups without hiring staff.