When it comes to attracting top talent for a small business, lots of small business owners throw up their hands and say, “We’re just too small! We can’t get the people we need because they’re all going to the big companies!”

If you’ve felt this way — trust me — you’re not alone in the sentiment.

But what these business owners are forgetting is their own unique offerings that give them a competitive advantage over the big companies.

So what are the benefits of working for a small to mid-sized business that should be leveraged during talent talks? Let’s take a look.

Focus on Purpose

40 hours a week is a lot of time to spend doing one thing (at one place.) Because of that, top talent is often looking for meaningful work that aligns with their personal passions and goals.

In fact, a Gallup study showed that of 64,000 workday events studied from 238 employees within different companies — those relating to meaningful work were ranked as the most engaging activities.

Rather than focusing your conversation with top talent on how much you can pay or the clout that comes along with a specific title, shift the subject matter to your business’s mission, values, and purpose. Talk about the people you serve, why you started the business, and what truly inspires you and your team to come to work every day.

Talk About Culture

As a small business, you can offer a close-knit culture to top talent in which leadership and employees have open communication, share ideas, and complement each other. In large companies or corporate situations, there’s often more separation between departments with a proper chain-of-command that is observed — meaning unique voices can get lost in the mix.

You should highlight that your working environment is one in which ideas are appreciated, shared, and acted on — and discuss the core elements of your culture that showcase your focus on both customers and your internal team.

Things to touch on during this part of the conversation may be:

Remember: You’re working to help top talent envision how they’ll fit in within this new environment — so play up what you have to offer.

Set Up a Challenge

Talented people like a good challenge, so you should present the role at stake as one that will be tasked with interesting and tough obstacles.

At the same time, there should be motivators and growth opportunities that come along with overcoming those challenges — because most employees want room to grow within their roles.

That might mean implementing pay increases when benchmark improvements are reached, offering bonuses for surpassing goals, or mapping out a trajectory for promotions based on how the new hire excels within the role.

Spotlight How You’ll Employ Their Specific Talents

If you have a talented professional willing to discuss how he or she might fit in with your business, take the time to talk about how their specific talents would be put to use in the new role.

For example: Say you’re speaking with a marketing expert who is known for her success with creating results-producing social media campaigns. You might talk about how you’d like her to leverage her specific social media marketing skills to help promote a new product you’re launching in 6 months on three different social platforms.

Rather than keeping the conversation with the realm of general marketing responsibilities, show that you’ve noticed their specialty and you want them to have free reign putting it to good use.

Be Proud of Your Small Business and What You Have to Offer

Sure, you might not be able to compete with the salary offerings of a big company when it comes to attracting top talent—but you do have ways to compete in almost every other arena.

The bottom line: You don’t have to present your job opportunities as a sub-par alternative to a big company job. Talk about purpose, your culture, challenges, and how you’ll put their specific talents to work—and you’ll lasso in the right candidate when he or she comes along.

How do you entice top talent to work for your small biz?