Finding good people
We are in a growth spurt here at my place of employment. This is usually a good thing for a company, showing that the future is bright and that the mistakes of the past have not proven fatal to that future. This would be good except for the fact that there is a dearth of qualified folks seeking employment. Small companies like ours have a very difficult time finding people to fill roles within the company. Small companies have a difficult time competing for the limited number of qualified people with the larger firms in the market. Small firms cannot compete on salary's and other benefits with the bigger companies. So when a small firm places an advertisement for a position, they often get a few applicants none of which are really suited for the position at least on the paper. The end result is that small firms have to contend for the scraps at the employment dinner table. Fighting with the other smaller firms for remaining candidates.
Another item that affects all firms but especially hurts smaller firms is the constant contact that employees have from outside hiring forces. I would never seek to restrict a persons basic right to better themselves or their situation in life, but given that smaller firms have a difficult time replacing members of their workforce, it becomes especially painful when you have a member leave for greener pastures. Lured away by a head hunter. While I personally have experienced a perverse sort of buyers remorse after leaving a prior place of employment. I can say that sometimes the grass may be greener on the other side of that fence.
Traditionally working for a smaller company had benefits that transcended simple salary and other tangible benefits. That feeling of belonging, or being important in an endeavor that is important, or perhaps the feeling of freedom with a flexible work schedule. The problem is that as pressures on a smaller firm mount and that firm has fewer and fewer qualified candidates for positions, these previous advantages evaporate, as the firm struggles to maintain itself. Things like flexible work schedule are often enough the first things to go from a small firm. Small firms also always seem to have that sword hanging over their heads, twisting slowly in the winds of change that blow constantly in todays market place. With moral often enough taking the hit. The Firm finds itself in a position where it is losing its one ace that might attract a qualified person to a position and keep them there over the long haul.
In the end a small firm is faced with many challenges, perhaps the most important being the search for a way to grow without growing up and growing old. The challenge to a small firm is finding a way maintain its small set of attraction items in the face of these challenges, and continue to grow in spite of them.