Sometimes, the best things you can do for a struggling business are the little things. You probably already did the big things. You are not a crazy person. You know about the obvious things. Your store front is clean and well lit. Your inventory is fully stocked at all times. You are staffed with the best workers you could afford. You greet every customer with a smile. And you keep up your marketing efforts at all times. You are doing everything right. And yet it is still hard to pay all the bills with any left over for yourself.
The problem might not be either big or obvious. It could be one of those things that are sometimes referred to as a paper cut. Individually, paper cuts are small and insignificant. But it is possible for your business to bleed to death from too many paper cuts. They tend to have a cumulative effect. And no single cut can be said to be the downfall of your company. That is what makes them so dangerous. The cuts happen over time. But the effect can happen all at once and lead to catastrophe. Here are some of those paper cuts, and how you can remedy them before it’s too late:
It is never really about the coffee. It is about the quality of breaks your workers are allowed to take. The coffee is a little thing that can go unnoticed if you don’t know what to look for. Just notice your workers when they come in late for work every morning. Don’t make a list and check it twice. That’s not the point. Just look at what they are carrying. It is very likely a cup of their favorite coffee. They were late because they had to go to the busy coffee bar to get it. Don’t judge. That is what they need to start their day.
Instead, offer them their favorite cold brew right there at the office. First, they will love you because they won’t have to pay $7 for a cup of coffee. Second, they will appreciate the attention to detail. Make sure you get a subscription for it so that they don’t come in and find that you’re out of the good stuff. Get them used to finding the good stuff every time they walk into the office and they will never want to leave, at least, not for a coffee run.
We are well past the time when it is okay to not have recycling bins in the office. You will be judged harshly by the people who work for you. In some places, it is a big enough issue where you simply will not be able to hire and retain the best talent. Keeping that talent happy is just one of the benefits of your company going green.
Of course, that is not the only reason to do the right thing. To be clear, going as green as possible is the right thing. You should also want to do it for the sake of future generations. We are writing checks that our children will have to pay. It is past time we choose paper instead of plastic. Better yet, stop making plastic an option. If paper is more expensive, charge more. When the environment is a priority, both workers and customers will reward you.
One of the least expensive and most important things you can do for your business is to show recognition to your employees. It literally costs you nothing to call an employee into the office for 1 minute just to praise them for a job well done. The person who leaves that office will be a different person than the one who walked in. If you do that sort of thing in public, you can literally improve your workforce without spending a penny of petty cash. There is nothing petty about employee recognition. But your business could collapse without it.
Don’t let your business die from paper cuts. Give your workers the breaks they deserve. Make your office as green as it can get. And send your employees home feeling 10ft tall by giving them some recognition from time to time.