You need great employees, but there's a talent shortage. So, you are fighting for all the best people with all your competitors. But, there's a talent pool out there that many companies neglect: Stay at home moms.

I know it might seem a bit silly to be looking at these women as part of your talent pool. They are home with their kids, not looking for jobs. Once they start looking for jobs, they cease to be stay at home moms, but become part of the workforce, right? Well, let me share a story.

When my oldest child was a year old, my husband and I bought a house in one of those cookie cutter developments in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. As we got to know the neighbors, the general questions started happening. "What do you do?" "Oh," I'd say, "I work part-time in HR." The answer from many of other women in the neighborhood was almost identical, "Oh, I wish I could work part-time."

Now, some of these women worked full time and wanted to switch to part time and some were stay at home moms. But, all were intelligent, capable, experienced women, and many would have loved to be in the workforce on a part-time basis.

My experience in this neighborhood isn't unique to suburban Philadelphia. Almost 50 percent of moms with children under 18 say that part-time work is the ideal situation. That includes both moms that work both full-time and stay at home moms. 40 percent of stay at home moms say they'd prefer to be working part-time.

Got that? There are about 10 million stay at home moms in the United States. That means about 4 million women out there are interested in working part-time. How's that for expanding your talent pool? Now, granted, most of those people don't have the skills you need for your business, but out of 4 million, there's bound to be someone.

Need a lawyer? Look towards "opt-out" moms. These aren't just women who chose to stay at home because the cost of child care was too high. These are highly educated women, with family incomes over $75,000 a year, with working husbands. It's not just people that did the math and decided that child care costs would eat up all their income that are staying at home. These women make up 4 percent of the stay at home mom group. That may seem small, but that's still 400,000 women.

How to find these women? They aren't actively job hunting because quality part-time jobs are few and far between. But, you can find them the same way you find other people-through networking. Start advertising part time jobs on websites that stay at home moms frequent. Create some part time jobs and you'll be able to tap the talent market that your competitors are ignoring. That's smart business.

It's also smart business for a startup to look towards part-time employees. If you're not swimming in money, you may not be able to afford full-time employees, but you might really need expertise. Don't wait until you can afford full-time to get the expertise you need now. Part-time is a real possibility, and there's a whole pool of people who are interested-if you're smart enough to find them.

Published on: May 8, 2015