Hundreds of entrepreneurs from around the country recently gathered in Chicago to swap tales of success and challenges at the Inc. Magazine and CNBC iCONIC conference. However, the news isn't all rosy.
As the economy gain steams following the Great Recession, attracting and retaining top talent remains a perennial challenge among entrepreneurs, according to conference participants. Funding and crafting the right expansion plan also were cited as hurdles to growth.
Ryan El-Hosseiny runs AccessMedical Laboratories, a diagnostic testing lab based in Juniper, Florida. He started the company 12 years ago, but finds that keeping employees—especially millennials—can be challenging. Work expectations differ among generations, and continue to evolve.
"Millennials want more pay, more flexibility, more vacations, but they don't wan't to work as hard," El-Hosseiny said. "Employees are changing, and I think all employers and businesses are going to have to saddle up and adjust to that change. If you don't adapt, you will be left behind in the dust," he said.
Hiring in fact is a broad, persistent trend among small businesses.
About 53 percent of small businesses reported hiring or trying to hire, according to the April optimism index from the National Federation of Independent Business. However, 44 percent of those surveyed also said there were few or no qualified applicants.