Finding ways and means to grow a new company can be a challenge, for any start up business. One needs to think of so many things: PR, staff, funding, marketing, web development, social networking – the list is endless.
How does one keep on top of these things when you are a one man, one woman band? How do you remain a viable entity in the marketplace? How does one motivate and keep clients - to happily invest their time and money, in your business? Have I blown my budget? Better still, is there any budget?
There is no overnight solutions to any of this and it takes a whole lot more than time, patience and sleepless nights in Seattle – trust me. Yet, starting with a few tried and tested actions can help alleviate your stress and reward you with results that will hold you in good stead, throughout the business teething years.
A Welcome Kit for New Employees
Everyone wants to feel appreciated and going that extra mile for new employees can forge lifelong relationships and will help you retain happy staff for years to come. Establishing a bond is essential – the happier they are, they happier your customers will be; and the happier your customers, the happier you will be. Metaphorically speaking, the circle of happiness is never one sided. Think of including: a pen, notepad; a‘thank you’ note; company t-shirt and cap; a map around the office; a who’s who index of staff; and a staff coffee cup – There are a million and one things you could include.
Personalised Birthday Gifts
Special occasions are just that – special occasions and are very much a great opportunity to take a break, have fun and be involved in each other’s’ celebrations. So why not make it personal?
Grab an awesome looking cake with your logo on it, a personally signed card, even a gift certificate to a restaurant or the movies would tell your employee that they are appreciated and you care.
Whether it is a surprise shout out across the entire office; a post on the daily noticeboard in red lights; a word of thanks in the e-mail circular or newsletter – staff love to know that you know, they have achieved the mark. To be recognised, for having gone above and beyond the call of duty, is everything. It inspires not just the achiever, but those individuals around them to be more productive. Recognition for: the highest sales in the week; for landing the extra client; for being promoted; for taking the initiative to organise the storage room (...which no one likes to do!), can be opportunities for sharing a warm-hearted, thanks! Oh and don’t forget to congratulate staff on those happy occasions like – engagements, new baby etc.
Say ‘thank you’
You can never say ‘thank you’ enough, in my book – especially when you know they have been burning the mid-night oil to help you out. Send them a box of chocolates, invite them into the office to enjoy a one-on-one coffee and chat, let them off half an hour early or extend their lunch period by fifteen minutes for the next week. It might seem small, but it is a big deal for your employee!
Create as a Team
Pooling ideas in the workplace benefits everyone! You don’t even have to keep it to one department. Sometimes, the best ideas come from those outside their regular department, because it is something new and fresh employees need to think about. It is also way to keep staff on the same page, especially if it is a big project involving a few departments – i.e. presenting a brand new product to the marketplace. PR, advertising and production so often need to be up to speed with each other’s progress.
Set up Get Together Opportunities
BBQ’s are a great way to wind down, alleviate stress in the workplace and to break down barriers that could exist among staff and management. It costs little for everyone to BYO a plate of nibbles and for you to supply the drinks (paid for by the business, of course – ‘moral building’).
You might want to organise a regular happy hour at your local bar on a Friday evening, or even go dancing!
Set up a Sports Day
Keeping both staff and management motivated, focused and having fun is half the battle in creating a successful business. Sporting days are a great way to keep spirits high and to improve the physical/mental well-being of individuals positive. Team-building sports such as tennis, soccer, pool and running are awesome!
Setup a Q & A Box/Suggestions Box
Suggestions boxes are a wonderful way to inspire employees; to have their ideas heard and tested in the business. There might be a faster way of sending out mail, a better way to work a business deal, a problem you were not aware of - where the employee wishes to remain anonymous.
Combined this with a regular Q & A’s about the business or for that matter on the aspirations of employees, will help unblock the communications channel in your business. Remember nothing is off limits – salary requirements, business strategies, HR issues, even running a new idea past your staff.
Think outside the box – and your staff will too!