Often, small or home-based businesses struggle for years before they begin to see a profit, and sometimes part of the struggle is just trying to keep up with the demand. It can be difficult to find the right employees for the job, however, especially if the business doesn’t allow for a competitive salary. For this reason, interns are a blessing, and more and more small business owners are beginning to see the benefits of internships.
There are some things to consider before you begin an internship program; however, it’s not hard to see why so many companies are leaning toward this low-cost, low-risk option. Here are just a few of the many benefits involved, as well as some things to think about.
Look at your business model
Does your company offer a good experience for a college student? Will you be able to offer a paid internship? These are two very important questions to ask yourself before starting an internship program. Experience is a wonderful thing, but many college students are looking for something that will also help them pay for living expenses. However, interns can be hired for much less than a full-time employee and you are not required to offer unemployment or severance benefits if you decide not to bring them on full-time.
Increase your productivity
Not only will you be able to accomplish more with another set of hands, your full-time staff will appreciate having the extra help that an intern can provide. Also, interns are often highly motivated, meaning you won’t have to worry about their productivity.
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Give back to your community
As a small business, you are likely tied to the local community in many ways. Hiring college students–particularly those who are paying their own way through school–is a great way to give back to the community as a whole and show that your business is involved in its well-being.
One of the major benefits of hiring interns is that you can potentially find new employees for the future, whether they are full-time, seasonal help or just available to be on-call should you need a fill-in. This is especially helpful when one of your full-time employees gets sick or needs to take an extended leave, as it means you don’t have to worry about dealing with a temporary agency and training someone new.
>> RELATED: Cost of Hiring a New Employee for Your Small Business
Hire interns and you both benefit
Both your company and the intern can benefit from testing the waters with one another. They may find that they aren’t as interested in the field as they thought, or you might discover they are talented but just aren’t a good fit for your company. An internship saves you time and money when it comes to training and allows you to get a good look at your company’s needs.
Learning is the goal
The point of an internship is to learn the ins and outs of a business, and many find that they are better able to do that in a small company rather than a big business that may not have the time to properly train a new staff member. Keep communication open, encourage new ideas and debate, and allow your interns to learn from the company’s past mistakes. This will enable them to better serve you and your full-time staff.
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