For a small business owner finding good employees is always hard but finding experienced managers is even harder. Every business large and small faces the difficult task of finding competent managers but large enterprises generally have a much larger pool of qualified candidates to choose from. They’ll have newly minted MBA’s beating down their doors every graduation. People with years of experience looking for a change of scenery. They won’t have a problem finding candidates, their problem is usually which one do they choose.

But your business on the other hand will probably be the exact opposite. I mean really how many people go to school to learn how to run a convenience store, a dry cleaner, a landscaper, or a copy store. Plus the countless thousands of other small business types that exist. Of course one problem is that eventually the small business becomes a fairly big business in its own right. And it’s then that you’re going to need some sort of qualified help or you might find yourself overwhelmed.

So what can you do? Well the obvious answer would be an out of this world benefits package that you could use to attract an MBA or two. But we know that’s probably not realistic. So lets start with where you find potential managers to begin with. Of course you’ll do the usual and run some employment ads in the classifieds, or maybe you have a help wanted sign in the window. But come on we’re looking for someone that can help manage your business as it grows not just another employee. One way to go is using an online service such as . But this approach is not going to be right for all businesses. How many people that are experienced in running a dry cleaning store actually use such a service?

So instead of hoping they’ll find you maybe you should go hunting for them. So how do we find an experienced candidate? For starters check with your competition. I’m not saying call up the owners and ask them but maybe you can pay a visit to some of your competitors. For example say you own a restaurant but haven’t been able to find a good shift manager. Well go down to your local mall and visit the food court. Watch the different fast food joints during the busiest part of the day which is the lunch rush.

It’s usually not hard to tell which stores are better run than others. Which ones are really busy but still manage to keep their customers happy. Which ones have employees that like their jobs and are good at them. Attributes that are the product of good managment. And most likely the direct result of the shift or store manager. Once you’ve identified who that person is that is keeping that store humming look for an opportunity to strike up a conversation. Try to find out if they’re truly happy in their job or feel maybe their efforts are underappreciated. You’ll find that when someone is really good at what they do they probably know it already and they may feel as if they’re not being recognized for it. This can provide you an opportunity. After having talked to them explain your own situation and ask if they’d be okay with you observing them further in their work. But remember if they say they’re okay with it keep in mind they then might go to the effort of trying to impress you. Instead of doing their job in their normal manner.

Of course you don’t need to settle on finding just one candidate. The mall itself is a wonderful place for this kind of approach. Assuming you can find businesses that are similiar to yours there. You should be able to spot some very good candidates for your business. Once you do you can go about the business of setting up some interviews with them.

What you need to remember is that no matter how forlorn the industry you’re in may be there are experienced well qualified candidates available to you. You just might have to find them instead of waiting for them to find you.