In case you haven’t noticed, the job market has become increasingly competitive and for the small business owner this means that if you don’t treat your employees right someone else will take them. However, that doesn’t mean that they will treat them any better. So let’s take a look at the many ways we can be proactive and ensure the most vital and important aspect of small business management – the employee.

In the past all it took was a strong economy, which created a lot of companies needing assistance, for workers to have more job opportunities.  Nowadays, the average job seeker has numerous opportunities to search for jobs and post their resumes using services like LinkedIn and Indeed which seem to encourage job movement.  As a small business, you will struggle to match the pay or perks offers of bigger companies, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as you may be able to create an environment which offers significant career development opportunities leading to greater success and higher work satisfaction.

Also, while the larger companies might offer your employees a raise that doesn’t mean you can’t compete. You will need to be flexible and creative so you can develop the best mix of benefits t you can offer that larger companies may not be willing or able to match.

Flexible Hours

How flexible can your employee work schedule be?  Do you require employees to always be on the premises or with clients during working hours?   As a small business, you have the option to not limit your employees to a traditional schedule. Be open to your employees figuring out schedules that meet your needs but give them the hours they want.

By using this method, you allow your employees to customize their work schedules to their lives. Maybe a worker needs to schedule around a school bus pickup and drop-off, but still works their hours.  Another prefers to work longer days in order to leave early on Friday.  The mix is up to the employees, but it is YOUR flexibility that wins them over. Having work lives that don’t interfere with their personal lives is one of the most important aspects of job satisfaction for younger workers.

While those are not traditional schedules by any means, there’s no reason for you to worry as long as everyone is happy, and the work gets done.  Your role is to develop systems and utilize technology to best understand how the employee functions and benchmark it to the results that you require to succeed.  To make this even more innovative you can implement technology that lets you supervise your staff without needing to see them.


Although you may not be able to commit to salaries that are as big as what larger companies offer, you can’t afford to lose your best employees who more likely than not deserve higher pay within your organization.  By using a profit-sharing strategy, you will be able to offer employees a piece of your profit which then creates the incentive to increase production levels as your key employees will see more dollars if they perform well.  This incentive should be structured so that the best employees always get fairly compensated, but they also have the opportunity to create more and more profit for themselves and you.

You see, when you give your most-valuable workers a piece of the profits they’ll stop thinking like employees and start acting like owners. This can lead to your small business operating more efficiently because top performers now have an incentive to maximize profits.

Your ability to cut your important employees in on a piece of the profits does require some transparency on your part. You will need to provide employees with information on the metrics that you are determining their share of the profits on.  There are additional benefits for empowering employees with knowledge about your business. If you intend to grow the business and will need future managers, the profit bench-marking approach teaches them the basic aspects of financially supervising your business.


In addition to profit sharing you can consider whether your key employees are capable of being part of ownership someday.  As a small business owner you may also want to someday move on and to do so you will need to establish an heir apparent.  By properly training one of your key employees to take this role your small business will be able to function without the existing owner and the new owner can simply pick up as executive over a fully functioning business.

You can use the long-term goal of a creating a succession plan with one or more of your key employees at the same time to create an environment where they will be less likely to jump ship over a raise.  Start with the worker(s) earning equity based on hitting performance goals and grant that person the right to make the first offer to buy the company when it’s time for you to step away.  While it isn’t a small feat, setting the foundation for someone else to run your company if something happens in your life/ or to you creates business value and increases employee satisfaction.

How clever and resourceful can you be?  The CEO of a large company can’t talk to every employee and create a strategy just for them, but in a smaller business, you have the luxury of being able to get to know your workers and understand what will help them develop their hopes and dreams.

It is vital to be proactive; you can’t wait until your employees inform you that they are leaving to make the necessary changes.  They won’t tell you that they are receiving other offers and opening yourself up to lose key employees will definitely keep you up at night.  We suggest that you become aggressive when it comes to creating the most positive workplace culture that makes each and every vital (this may be all) employee at the very least consider long and hard before leaving.

Whether you are a business, individual, or non-profit, we can outline specific steps you should take to minimize taxes, maximize loan eligibility, and ensure your business’ sustained growth.

For more information, contact us at or (212) 397-2970.

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