Everyone who runs a small business knows what their assets and resources are. They know every computer, copier, and company car on the asset sheet. They knew exactly how much room is left on their line of credit, and what other sources of liquid cash they might have access to. They know their income and their expenses to the penny, and they know the talents and limitations of every employee they’ve hired for a specific job. But that’s only part of the picture of resources you have in your company because chances are your employees are a bunch of icebergs floating in your office, and you’re only seeing part of what they can offer.

 

Take It to the Crowd

Naturally, you’re not going to hire non-accountants to balance your books or ask the shy inexperienced receptionist to handle sales to your biggest client but that doesn’t mean that your employees can only contribute to your bottom line in one very specific way. Your employees are the people who work every day, hour after hour, with your procedures, your equipment, your vendors, and your customers. If there are people in the world better placed to help you run your business, we can’t imagine who they are. You’re paying your employees well for their time and energy why not ensure you’re getting the most out of all of them?

 

Share the Bounty

One approach to getting more out of your employees is to invite them to solve problems for you. Establish an ongoing bounty program for cost-cutting. Invite your employees to feel free to suggest ways that you can reduce costs in your business. If, upon review, you implement one of their suggestions, pledge to give them 10% of the first year’s savings to them as a bonus. There’s no new cost involved, you’ll still be saving 90% of that cost, and if the suggestion doesn’t pan out, you’re not on a hook for anything.

 

Everyone is In Sales

Every single employee should be considered part of your sales team. This is not to say they should be regarded as and paid as salespeople or sent out on sales calls. But it does mean that they should all be encouraged and trained to notice possible leads in their daily lives and office interactions. Educate all of your employees about the services and products your company offers. This doesn’t take much time and doesn’t cost much money, but employees who know what you offer can connect those dots when they encounter someone socially, or through the course of their work duties. Offer a modest bonus if their lead turns into new business.

 

Dig Deep

Very few people have exactly one skill or interest. One office was struggling with an old software platform that had been in need of updating for years. One day, an employee was so frustrated they sat down and began writing simple macros in the Word Processor to replicate many of the old software’s features. When management saw what they were doing, they were encouraged to keep working at it. In a few days, they had a rough but working solution that bridged the gap effectively between the old software and the new platform that took another year to be delivered a year they spent using this employee’s casual macros. No one knew the employee had any coding skills at all.

Your employees may have many amateur or hobby-level skills that don’t show up on resumes but can be very beneficial. Maybe someone could act as a backup IT manager simply because they have a certain type of mind. Or perhaps one of your employees can act as a part-time event planner for the company due to a former career or simply an interest in the work. The point is, your employees are already on the payroll: It makes sense to discover every possible way they can contribute to the company at no additional cost.

About the author: Stephen Hart is the owner of comparison site cardswitcher.co.uk, a site built to allow SME’s to easily compare card processing fees and find the cheapest option for their merchant card services in the UK.

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