There are some things you definitely need to start a business. This article isn’t about those things. This article is about the things you don’t necessarily need to get your business up and running, but getting these elements in place earlier will save you some change and set you up for success in the long run.
Having dissatisfied employees might seem like a minor problem, but happy employees put out higher quality and higher quantity of work. It’s a soft cost because it’s hard to report on employee happiness, but their engagement (which rises with happiness) is easy to see in the results.
Engaged, happy employees are wonderful to have. They do more work, better work, and stay with your company longer.
Feed Them Breakfast
Breakfast and coffee doesn’t have to be expensive to provide for your employees, instant oatmeal and coffee/tea are enough to keep them going and help them do much better. While they should be eating before work, having an option in case they didn’t get coffee or breakfast before they left home can help them be better employees and provide you with better work.
Give Them Some Control
Employees who feel like they have control over their career and the quality of work that they provide are more engaged and happy with their jobs. Control could be something as simple as giving client service options to offer difficult customers or giving them all the tools that will make them successful.
For example, a broken printer and slow computer steal time from your office workers and probably make them feel like they can’t get things done quickly, it removes their control of success and gives it to the off chance that the printer will work well for them.
Give them the tools and control they need to feel successful.
Better Offices Makes People More Productive
Everyone wants to work at Google. It’s beautiful, they have slides, collaborative work spaces, and green areas, which is great for recharging their amazing employees who do killer work for them.
Pretty offices do more than make people happy. They make employees more productive. You don’t have to go big and build a slide, you can do little stuff like have a wide space, allow for natural light, maybe hang some pictures if you don’t have the windows or wide spaces you are looking for.
Even in rented spaces without windows, you can get something on the walls to make it look nice. Plus, a workplace you want to spend time in is good for you and good for your employees.
Work Fitness Goals
Don’t send people out on a death march to lose weight, but encouraging a healthy lifestyle can lower your insurance cost and make your employee’s lives better. Bring in healthy snacks, start a break-walking group, or offer onsite classes once a week (30 min of lunch yoga a week can pay off for your people).
Tiny changes that encourage health, movement, and stress relief will help you keep your employees for longer, and get them to take less sick days on average. It’s good to have happy, healthy workers.
You could go greener as a company. That could mean anything from going paperless, or choosing an electric car as your next company car.
Giving everyone mugs and no longer offering paper cups saves on garbage, is personal, and is a great way to get branded merchandise among your employees. Taking steps towards a greener work space can save you money (less printing is always nice) and it shows that you care about the world.
Lowering your print-output can be easy for a lot of companies, presetting the printer to do things double sided, offering customers emailed receipts, and backing up everything electronically will immensely reduce your paper use.
Electronic correspondence is also a great way to ensure that people are receiving your memos since you can track their open/read rate with things like MailTrack, through Hubspot, or just requesting a read status when sending through Gmail.
If you are getting a company car, an electric car is a great option. Not only are you spending less on gasoline, but electric cars can be quite economically priced, especially when you factor in any tax credits your company could get from going green. It can save you big on gas if you use your company car to visit clients.
Opting out of smog and noise and gasoline and being an all around pal to the environment, while saving some change, is good for everyone involved.
Expand Your Business
If you are looking to spend cash, up-size your company, and make some bold moves; expanding is a perfect way for you to do so. Whether you are making your office bigger or investing in a little marketing, expanding your business can be a risk since it often doesn’t have a hard ROI that can be guaranteed.
Expanding your business (or choosing a better location) can have long-term effects on your employees. Even just moving the off-site storage location to a more expensive, but closer place could help you reduce transport and personnel costs, which are likely more than the additional cost of a closer storage location.
Changing locations requires some initial costs, but can save you big in the long run, especially if you plan it out.
Now might be an especially good time to start owning your brick-and-mortar location with the changes in the loan market that Trump’s trying for in 2017. A better location, a more accessible storage site, or a larger warehouse are all great moves if you want to expand your capacity, as long as you have the customers to meet your output.
Marketing is also a great investment. It’s an investment in attention and the paying power of your company. A small thing like filling out your Name, address and phone number with Google, Yelp, or Yellow Pages is a great way to get started for free.
You can also do some keyword testing and try some Adwords, or try your hand at some native advertising. There are a lot of advertising options, and while your ROI isn’t guaranteed, it is smart to try and expand your customer base.
There are a lot of soft costs associated with doing business, and even though it’s hard to nail down an exact return on investment you’ll get, it is worth it to value your employees, go green, and try to expand your business.