For a small business to be successful, it’s important to have a team of people who are all dedicated to helping the business do well. There is definitely strength in numbers, but true strength lies not in the number of people but in the quality of those brilliant team members.
(Please do note that I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit http://facebook.
In my years as a small business owner, I’ve found that if all of those minds share similar perspectives and backgrounds, a business owner can be limited in the ideas he or she gets. Imagine a brainstorming session where you’re looking for as many ideas as possible. You want a wide variety of ideas, right? Hiring a diverse pool of talented workers to join your team ensures that you are surrounded by people who can broaden your own perspective.
What is Diversity?
One mistake many business owners make is in assuming “diversity” solely refers to a person’s nationality or race. Quite the contrary. By its very definition, diversity simply means “variety.” Variety of backgrounds, variety of thoughts and ideas, and variety of interests. By including variety in your staffing choices, you can not only bring new ideas to staff meetings and brainstorming sessions, but you will also find your own mind broadened by regularly hearing these new perspectives.
Over the past hundred years, the workforce has gradually evolved. American businesses, once dominated by Caucasian males, are far more representative of the American population. Women and minorities, including large numbers of bright minds from India, China, and Mexico, now make up a much more substantial portion of the American workforce.
Reaching Out to Customers
Because the population is so diverse, it’s logical to assume a business’s customer base is also diverse. Can you imagine the brainstorming sessions for women’s hair care products back in the 50’s, when advertising agencies were largely male? By adding females to those meetings, businesses were able to leverage a perspective that matched the customer base they were trying to attract.
The same goes for businesses trying to attract new clients. A diverse staff helps small businesses reach out to clients who may be better able to relate to them. Using the above example of the hair care company, an advertising agency today might land a shampoo contract if women are on staff who have used the product and know how important its benefits are.
There’s a reason businesses that engage in active diversity recruitment are more successful overall than those who don’t. Thanks to technology, businesses are no longer limited to attracting customers in their small regional area. A small-town business can place products online and receive orders from across the world. It only makes sense that those businesses would be interested in strategizing ways to reach potential customers across the world and one of the best ways to do this is to have workers who can think of ways to reach out to those customers.
If a small business owner looks around and realizes he’s staffed his business with replicas of himself, he’ll probably realize he’s not doing himself any favors. To truly succeed, a business owner needs to surround him (or her) self with brilliant minds that can come up with completely different ideas, contributing to the business’s corporate culture in a way that ensures long-term success.