Even though hiring by small businesses has been on the rise since 2002, according to an National Federation of Independent Businesses survey, 80% of those businesses hiring are finding few or no qualified applicants, notes an article in today's New York Times.

The story goes on to profile a few business owners who have had various difficulties in hiring employees. A couple of business owners lament the problem of finding employees willing to take on more than one job. Another talks about how she's gone through five assistants, finding it difficult to find a qualified, committed employee.

There's no way around it. Small businesses start out a disadvantage right off the bat: They can't afford the expensive compensation packages and benefits of large competitors. That's why wooing good employees takes a hard sell. Owners need to sell the entrepreneurial aspects of building a business and being part of team that will create the company's success. Offering real hands on involvement can help reap better-qualified and motivated candidates. Other advice offered in the Times piece includes offering candidates titles that will build their resumes and partnering with other entrepreneurs or independent contractors to avoid the hiring conundrum all together.

The talent wars are only going to heat up, and entrepreneurs would be wise to start thinking of creative ways to attract top talent. Have you employed any interesting tactics lately?