As a trusted advisor, I'm often speaking with other business owners about their businesses - how they're leveraging technology, what the impact of a technology change will look like, when to upgrade, what to upgrade, how best to manage operational changes, and so on.
Recently, people have begun asking me, "what's the hardest thing about growing your business?" When they do, I have to step back and think for a second. I could give them a list of all the hurdles and speed bumps we've had to overcome over the years.
The reality is, we've grown FPA into a decent sized business. Larger than a majority of our competitors. In LA, there are only a handful of IT Service Providers that are bigger than us. Most are a LOT smaller. At every major milestone when growing - 5 employees, 10, 15, 20 - there were different stumbling blocks that we had to overcome.
At 25, we have many of these behind us. But the one major hurdle we've always had and seem to still have, now more than ever, is the dearth of capable candidates. You'd think with unemployment at record highs, this wouldn't be a problem. But it is.
As a professional services firm, our success is all about our people. Yeah, we like to talk about how great our systems, processes, and methodologies are. But when you get down to it - it's all about our people. That's why we put so much time, energy, and effort into the hiring process.
And then once onboard, into the training process. Our staff separate us from the pack. No question. The trouble is - the bigger we get, the harder it seems to continue to find great people.
Everywhere I look I'm reading about how the number of qualified candidates in the technology field is going down - which is exactly what we're seeing. This doesn't necessarily mean we're going to lower our standards or change our hiring methodology.
It means that we're looking at new and different ways to source. At FPA, we're problem solvers. And this is no different than any other (problem) we've run across.
To easily paint the picture of us, I often say, "FPA is a Nordstom in a sea of Walmarts". Nordstrom wouldn't lower their standards in who they hire and neither will we. Our clients and our staff deserve nothing but the best.