Getting your business loan can be an exciting step in the growth of your business. Recording your loan properly in your accounting system usually requires special handling by your accountant. Your loan statement will provide the information you need to get it booked properly.

You’ll need the following pieces of information about your loan:

  • Total amount borrowed
  • Date of loan
  • Date of first payment
  • Payment amount
  • Term of loan
  • Number of payments
  • Interest rate

The full amount of your loan should be recorded as a liability on your business’s balance sheet. Two liability accounts should be set up: one for short-term and one for long-term. The offset is either an increase to cash or the recording of new assets like a car, truck, or building.

Each payment you make consists of two parts: interest and principal. Interest is an expense and is recorded in an Interest Expense account. It will reduce your profit. Principal is the amount you pay toward paying off the loan. It reduces the liability account where the loan is recorded. It does not affect your profit, but it does improve your liquidity with each payment you make.

The interest and principal amounts are not the same for each payment. Early loan payments consist of higher interest and lower principal amounts. As you reach the end of paying off your loan, the interest portion is smaller and the principal becomes larger. An amortization schedule shows you the exact amount of interest and principal for each payment.

Each time you make a payment, cash is reduced for the entire amount of the payment. The offset is split between interest expense and your loan liability, using the amounts in the amortization schedule. When you code your loan payment, you can use the amortization schedule to get the correct amounts to both of those accounts.

In a simple service business with no assets except cash, your cash balance can mimic your profit level. When you introduce loans and new, non-cash assets with depreciation expense, that won’t be true anymore. You might wonder why you have no cash and more profits, or the opposite might be true. This is why it’s a good idea to understand how these transactions affect your Balance Sheet and Income Statement as well as your business’s overall financial health.

At year-end, your accountant can make correcting entries if needed between the loan balance and interest expense. They can also adjust the short-term and long-term liability accounts to reflect the correct balances for the upcoming year. The amount of principal reduction planned for less than one year goes into the short-term liability, and the rest goes into the long-term account.

If you failed to make payments or made them late, your accountant can make those allocations as well using manual journal entries.

Often, when you get a loan, you have also purchased some type of asset, such as a car or land and building. Those assets should be recorded on your books correctly as well. You should have some type of closing statement or purchase contract that has the details for your accountant. They will also compute and record the correct amount of depreciation for the asset type.

Your accountant can speak with you in more detail about your specific situation and can better explain the interplay between cash and profits if you are interested. Feel free to reach out to us anytime.

A refund policy defines the processes and rules for when customers want their money back and want to return the products or services they purchased from you. It’s often required by your credit card or shopping cart company as part of maintaining PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance. Plus, it’s just a good, fair business practice to post one.

As a business owner, you can set your own refund rules. The important thing is that they are communicated clearly to the customer in advance of their purchase.

A good refund policy answers the questions that customers have when the item they purchased from you does not work out. It reduces conflict and ambiguity, and improves customer service. It also helps your employees work with customers’ expectations, by allowing them to refer to the posted policy that a customer can see with their own eyes.

Here are some of the components you’ll want to address in your refund policy:

Items to be returned: Which items can be returned and which can’t? Some products, after opening, like food, simply can’t be returned safely. You might still honor a refund of money even if the item can’t be returned or re-sold.

Condition of items: You may want to stipulate for some returned items that they are in a condition to be re-sold. That means the customer may need to return packaging as well as the item in order to qualify for a refund.

Time limit: How long from the date of purchase do customers have to return the item and ask for a refund? Common time limits range from 7 to 30 days.

Shipping: If shipping cost is involved, who will pay it?

Processing time: How long will it take to receive a refund once the item is returned?

Money: How will the money be returned? Will it be on the credit card used? What if it is cash or a check? Or will you give store credit only?

Requirements: Will customers need to fill out a form, request refund approval, or use a specific shipping return label?  What instructions do you need to provide them for proper return requests and processing?

Fees: Will there be a re-stocking fee, cancellation fee, return processing fee, or any other fee that reduces the amount of the refund?

The first step is to decide the answers to all of the above questions. You might be tempted to have a “no returns, no refunds” policy, and this could be the right thing in many cases. However, the refund policy is a chance to build trust with the customer, and a rigid one could cause lost sales. Often a “no questions asked” refund policy can increase sales in the long term. Only a very tiny percentage of people will take advantage of it.

Once you have determined the answers to your refund policy, you can write up the policy. Post it on your website and near your cash register or checkout areas of your store.

Next, make sure you have a smooth process in place for handling returns on a timely basis. Most stores have a separate checkout area or customer service desk to process returns so that they don’t slow down the regular check-out lines. Employees should be trained on how to talk with the customers, how to accept the returned items back into inventory for resale or return back to the vendor, and how to use the cash register or shopping cart system to process the returns.

You can even turn returns into a positive experience for everyone. If an item is the wrong size, it may be able to be converted into an exchange for a different size so the sale is not lost. A great sales person can also provide upsell opportunities for new or similar items to the returned item. Proactively, your store can sell warranties at the time of purchase for selected items.

The more customers you have, the more chances there are of having a customer who asks for a refund. Be prepared with a clear, fair, well-documented refund policy.

Measuring and encouraging customer retention is important for businesses in many industries. There are a couple of great measures to see how you are doing in this area. We’ll explain those and provide some tactical tips in this article.

Measuring Customer Retention

The most common metric to measure customer retention is the customer retention ratio. The best report to run to gather the data for this is a Revenue by Customer Summary Report. Each customer should be listed in a row of your spreadsheet, and each year’s revenue for that customer should be listed in the columns.

From this report, you can get the following numbers. Let’s use 2020-2021 as our measurement period.

A = How many customers you had with sales in 2020

B = How many customers you had with sales in both 2020 and 2021

The formula is B / A, which will give you the retention ratio. The formula A – B will give you a count of how many repeat customers you lost.

C = How many customers you had with sales in 2021, but not 2020

Answer C will tell you how many new customers you gained in 2021. This doesn’t inform customer retention metrics, but it does help to know how many lost customers you replaced.

Now dollarize your figures.

D = 2020 total sales of customers you had with sales in both 2020 and 2021

E = 2021 total sales of customers you had with sales in both 2020 and 2021

The formula E / D measures the percentage increase or decrease in sales of your repeat customers, so that you can see as a trend whether they are buying more or less from you. A lot of factors go into being able to influence this number, including upsell and cross-sell opportunities over time, sales communications, your business model, and products offered to repeat customers.

One final measure is customer lifetime value, which is easy to pull. Run your Sales by Customer Summary Report for all of the years that you have in your accounting system, then sort by highest revenue. Your most valuable customer over the years included will be listed at the top of the report.

Want to compare how you’re doing with other businesses? Industry-standard value ranges for each of these metrics vary greatly and are beyond the scope of this article. However, your best competitor is yourself, and learning how you can improve your own results year after year can be time very well spent.

Encouraging Customer Retention

No matter what industry you’re in, the best thing you can do to improve customer retention is to maintain an email list of customers, so that you can communicate with them on an ongoing basis. Letting them know when you have sales, new products and services, and even new staff members can go a long way toward building long-term relationships.

Other ways to promote customer retention include:

  • Your business model – a VIP membership or subscription model with perks and special access and bonuses can work for numerous businesses to maintain customers
  • Rewards programs
  • Special events
  • Special gifts
  • Thank you notes
  • Special discounts or exclusive offers
  • Social media presence, especially groups and active engagement where questions are encouraged and answered

Anything to make your customers feel special will work to increase retention. Think about what you can do to increase customer retention, and make a plan to execute your ideas. If you’d like to find out more about calculating these metrics, please reach out.

Most large businesses have developed mission, vision, and values statements to help guide them and inform stakeholders about the company’s strategic direction. Going through this strategic exercise is a wonderful idea for even the smallest business as well.

A company’s mission statement lists its core purpose and desired impact for employees, customers, owners, and other stakeholders. A vision statement defines what the company wants to be. A values statement describes what the company stands for.

It’s a perfect activity for business owners to answer and remember why they built the business in the first place. It also serves to correct and re-align the trajectory of the business.

Mission Statement

Start by asking what impact you want your business to have on the outside world. Here are some mission statement examples that are frequently quoted:

  • Harley-Davidson: More than building machines, we stand for the timeless pursuit of adventure. Freedom for the soul.
  • Disney: The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.
  • Nike: Nike exists to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. Our purpose is to move the world forward through the power of sport – breaking barriers and building community to change the game for all. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.

Notice how each one is short and simple to understand. They focus more on the big-picture benefits they bring to customers and less on how they will get there.

To write your own mission statement, ask yourself what your business’s purpose is and how you will impact your customers’ lives with your products and services.

Vision Statement

A vision statement is big, bold, and futuristic. What do you want your company to be?

Here are a few examples:

  • Harley-Davidson: Building our legend and leading our industry through innovation, evolution, and emotion
  • Deloitte: We aspire to be the Standard of Excellence, the first choice of the most sought-after clients and talent.
  • Amazon: Amazon strives to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, Earth’s best employer, and Earth’s safest place to work.

What do you want your company to become?  That’s your vision statement.

Values Statements

Values statements are typically a set of adjectives or statements that answer what the company stands for. They can be in the form of leadership principles, core values, or a similar format. These days, they often include values on environmental, social, climate, global, human rights, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, and many other current issues. They can take the form of additional strategic statements on each one of these issues.

Sample values statements can be found in the company’s annual report as well as the About or Company section of their website.

Here are some examples:

  • Harley-Davidson Principles:
    • Communication – Communicate with purpose, structure, facts and inspiration
    • Agility – Accelerate, innovate and thrive in a rapidly changing environment
    • Impact – Focus on impact, not process, and be outcome driven
    • Simplicity – Pursue the simplest path to achieve each outcome
    • Speed – Don’t let perfection get in the way of process and pace
    • Culture – Be fair, honest, positive and creative. Strive to win and have fun.
    • Courage -Take risks and go against the norm
    • Judgment -Think strategically and make informed decisions
    • Focus – Focus on a short list of meaningful opportunities that build desirability
    • Lean – Maximize impact with limited resources
  • Coca-Cola Behaviors We Focus on:
    • Curious
    • Empowered
    • Inclusive
    • Agile
  • Merck Values:
    • Patients first
    • Respect for people
    • Ethics and integrity
    • Innovation and scientific excellence

Your mission, vision, and values statements will help you communicate the qualities of your business. It can help in hiring to see if a candidate’s individual values align with the core corporate values, and with customer acquisition when prospects see what your company is about. It can also help you remember your roots and why you work so hard every day.

We’d love to hear from you when you write up your mission, vision, and values statements.

Collecting money from customers is a key function in any business, and the more automated this process is, the better. The payment function varies by type of business, but more and more, there are online options available for collecting money over the internet. Here are few tips on what that looks like.

Your Website

The perfect place to collect money from a customer is your website. Or is it?  Actually, it’s not, but wait, let me explain first.

A typical website is not as secure as it needs to be to collect credit card information from customers. You almost always need an additional app for that. But what you can do on the website is add a link (usually behind a button) or an entire webpage (a sales or product page) to your site that seamlessly takes the customer to a secure site – a shopping cart with a payment gateway — to enter credit card details.

So, the only way your website gets involved is that it has the link or button that provides the bridge to the payment site.

The Payment App

The payment system needs to handle three functions:

  1. A shopping cart task, where the item is priced and added to a basket.
  2. A checkout page, where billing information and credit card information is collected.
  3. A behind-the-scenes settlement function, where the money is taken from the customer, held in a merchant account, and then sent to your business.

In the first step, you need shopping cart software to handle the function. Common retail solutions include Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento, to name a few. But these don’t, by themselves, get you paid. They just process the transaction in a secure environment.

The second step requires a payment gateway application. The most common stand-alone gateway is Authorize.net, and you typically would connect this to your shopping cart. The third step is handled by your merchant account, and sometimes, a separate processor is involved too. From your merchant account, which is connected to your gateway, you typically get a reconciliation of the daily settlements that hit your bank account. You would also handle customer complaints and disputes with them.

In recent years, the second and third steps have often been combined into the same vendor. Companies like PayPal, Stripe, and Square act as the gateway, the processor and the merchant account, all in one, which is really nice, and so much more streamlined than a decade earlier.

Some vendors go a step further and combine all three functions into one vendor.  PayPal is the quintessential example. Together, WooCommerce and WooCommerce Payments team up to provide an all-in-one solution.

Getting Paid in Service Businesses

A shopping cart is standard for online retail businesses, but what about service businesses? Service businesses that package their services and charge in advance can use a shopping cart just like retail.

If the service business bills their customers after the fact, then the payment setup is connected to invoice distribution instead of a shopping cart. In this case, you would need to find out which solutions work with your specific billing system, or if there is an add-on you can use to extend your billing system’s capabilities. For example, QuickBooks users can sign up for QuickBooks payments, and Xero users can use Stripe.

When the invoice is sent to the customer, it will include a payment link the customer can use to pay. These service business payment solutions are fairly industry-specific; for example, you might have noticed medical and dental offices use different solutions than personal care service businesses.

Different Choices

When you are selecting a payment system for your business, some people simply look at the credit card fees to make a decision. While that’s important, don’t stop there. Here are some final tips on what to look for and look out for:

  1. Understand exactly what each apps’ capabilities are so that you have all of the pieces of the process fully covered.
  2. Applying for a merchant account is just like applying for a loan, but the process has been extremely streamlined in the last decade or so.
  3. Make sure you can get the reports you need, including settlement details, refunds (full and partial) and void processing, failed payments and retries, and dispute resolution, to name a few.
  4. Put business processes in place to deal with all of the items mentioned above.
  5. Make sure the app can handle the type of billing you need to do, including cart items, recurring payments, after-the-fact invoicing, sales tax, and shipping parameters.
  6. Find out how long it is between collection and bank deposit; this can range from 1-6 days.
  7. Watch for a high failure rate on customer transactions. If this is the case, it could be that the gateway and merchant account are rejecting perfectly good business because the merchant account’s acceptance rules are extremely strict. This can happen with merchant accounts tied directly to banks, and the best thing to do is avoid them and look for a different option.
  8. Expect any new provider to hold the first few days of transactions for longer than normal. This is a temporary safety measure and should clear up quickly.

Adding an online payment system is smart business and can save a ton of accounting time. Just make sure to choose the best payment system for your specific needs.

Most entrepreneurs would agree that owning a business is an incredible privilege, and they would likely never want to go back to working for someone else. However, we all have our days! And sometimes those rough days can turn into weeks. If we’ve temporarily lost a little bit of our entrepreneurial passion, how can we get that back?  Here are some tips.

Customer Reviews

Reading reviews left by customers about your business can help you see things from your customers’ eyes. If the reviews are positive, they can help you see the impact your business has made on them which can boost your motivation. If the reviews are glowing, then this task alone can fuel your rejuvenation. After all, you have a lot more people you can make a difference with!

If you don’t have reviews, ask for them. The first time you do this, it can be an amazing experience.

Personal Self-Care  

Make sure to allocate enough time for personal care. No one can work 24/7 and survive without burning out. Try soothing activities like yoga, meditation, or a spa day if you just need some tranquility. Make it a regular habit, and you’ll be better balanced when you go to work.

Goal Reset

If you’ve been skirting by the last few years on incremental or unchallenging goals, it might be time to give yourself a BHAG – big hairy audacious goal – as mentioned in the book Built to Last. This is an ambitious, long-term goal that can help to propel the entire company into a mission to reach it.

If you feel your employees could use some rejuvenation as well, schedule a goal-setting retreat for the entire company. Everyone will come back with renewed energy and a new purpose.

Education

The thing about being an entrepreneur is you never stop learning. New skills are required every time you reach a new level in your business. Changes in technology, science, and government compliance trickle down to small businesses, requiring changes to your business processes on a constant basis.

Take a new class or read a book to learn something that will improve your business. You’ll be full of ideas that you can implement to make your business better.

Delegation

We all have tasks in our businesses that we love to do and tasks that we do not love to do.  If you’re doing too many of the “don’t love” tasks and not enough of the “love this task,” this can take a toll on your attitude. If you have staff, delegate the things you don’t love – and find staff that really love to do them. That way, you can focus more on the good stuff for yourself.

New Project

Is there a project that you’d love to do but has been on the back burner forever? Making it a priority may just be the reset button you need. Sometimes things that are urgent get done while things that are important but not urgent have to wait. Change the priority of those projects that are important and you will feel lighter.

Vacation

Last but not least, maybe you just need to get away for a while, then come back with a new perspective. For that, a good old-fashioned vacation, complete with air fares and hotel rooms, is the ticket.

If you’ve been working hard lately and it’s been grinding you down, try one of these tips to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate your passion for your business.

There’s more to being financially resilient than simply saving enough money for a rainy day. A part of being financially responsible is maintaining good financial records – and making sure people who need access to your records know where to find them if something happens to you. Here are some ideas for your consideration.

Communicating your goals

Too many families spend little to no time talking about money, and this habit lowers the financial literacy of everyone in the household. Do you know what goals each of your family members have around money?

Talking about money – more than what bill is due when – will strengthen everyone’s financial resilience in your family. You may want to set family goals as well as encourage everyone to set individual financial goals. This may or may not include preparing a budget and agreeing on plans, including a savings plan, a debt reduction plan, and others.

Systems and lists

Do you use an accounting system to store your financial records?  Or do you have Excel worksheets? Is it clear where they are located on your computer? Do your loved ones know how to find these items if something happens to you?

Now that so many things are digitized, it’s not as easy as it has been in the past. You can’t just label a filing cabinet drawer and say “everything is in here that you need.” Your financial records might be in a hundred different places on your computer. Being organized and planning for a smooth financial future for your loved ones means making a list of instructions on how to access all of your financially-related digital assets.

Your list might include:

  1. URL, login, and password to your accounting systems.
  2. List of bank, brokerage, and retirement accounts and their login information.
  3. List of credit card accounts and their login information.
  4. List of government-related accounts, such as social security and irs.gov, and their login information.
  5. List of regular monthly bills, such as utility, credit cards, and rent, and their login information.
  6. Details of regular monthly income received.
  7. Where to find financial files on your computer, such as tax returns, bank statements, and real estate closing documents, just to mention a few, and how to access them.

And that’s just a start. You may not want to share your passwords with certain family members. If this is the case, you can still record your instructions and store them away for safekeeping, providing access information later.

Backups

If your computer crashes, will you be able to recover your financial files? Taking periodic backups will prevent a loss of records.

What to keep in case of an audit

You hope it will never happen, but if it does, are you prepared for an audit with the IRS or a state agency? Do you know what records to keep and for how many years?

Financial confidence

Having good documentation, sharing financial knowledge and goals, and making a backup plan will boost your financial confidence. You will be more prepared than most households when it comes to financial safety.

How financially resilient do you feel? Taking into consideration the above ideas will help you stay one step ahead.

The past few years have seen major kinks in the supply chain due to a number of reasons: aberrant buyer behavior, source material scarcity, government shutdowns, and worker shortages, to name a few. What can a business owner do to protect their businesses from shortages and therefore, revenue loss? Let’s take a look at a few ideas.

Source New Suppliers

Being dependent on only one supplier for a key item is risky. Increase your options by finding new suppliers to use as backups or alternates whenever you can. While it’s admirable to buy local, it’s not always possible. Expanding your network will provide you with a lot more flexibility, even if you have to pay a bit extra at times.

Understand Your Timeline

How accurate is your prediction of lead time? Are you providing enough time from ordering and delivery before you need the part in house? Timelines have changed a lot in the last year. Spend some time reviewing and recalculating lead time if you need to.

Fine-Tune Forecasting

Get good at forecasting so that you can anticipate and prevent inventory shortages before they occur. We can help you set up the correct spreadsheets and generate the right reports so you’ll have better information for decision-making in this area of your business.

Develop Relationships

The more dependent your business is on a particular supplier, the more you want to develop that relationship. Adding that personal touch might not help you get your orders faster, but when troubleshooting is needed, you’ll want the extra help a personal relationship can provide.

Increase Communication and Collaboration

Increase communication with your suppliers so they can manage their own timelines and supply chains better. Provide them with accurate forecasts and let them know how they can better meet your needs in the present and in the future.

Audit Inventory Records Frequently

If your inventory balances are only adjusted once a year, inaccurate inventory numbers are likely to cause problems. Find ways to take inventory more often, or at least increase the accuracy of inventory balances. The savings will be worth it; you’ll have fewer surprise out-of-stock or back-order situations that can cost not only sales but also customer loyalty.

Proactively Manage Shipping 

There may be times when paying rush charges on shipping is justified simply to get the parts in house. Actively managing shipping and in-transit items will help you keep a handle on this. When possible, line up alternate shipping methods in case one method becomes unreliable. This is especially advised with overseas shipments where more can go wrong.

Create a Supply Chain Task Force

If supply chain issues are critical in your business and have been costing you profits, it might be time to create a dedicated team to manage and prevent crises. Consider putting together a group of employees that can be responsible for strengthening your supply chain.

Try these ideas to smooth out supply chain woes in your business.

While there are literally hundreds of accounting reports that can help you run your business better, one of the most popular – and greatly underutilized – reports is the variance report. A variance report helps you compare how you are actually doing with either a past or expected performance. It makes it crystal clear how far you’re straying from where you want to be so that you can make course corrections earlier rather than later.

Variance to Prior Periods

A common variance report that almost anyone can generate is one that compares current period results to prior period results. For example, you can generate an income statement with six columns:

  1. Current month activity, such as March 1 to March 31, 2022
  2. Prior year month activity, such as March 1 to March 31, 2021
  3. Month difference or variance (A – B)
  4. Year-to-date activity, such as January 1 to March 31, 2022
  5. Prior-year-to-date activity, such as January 1 to March 31, 2021
  6. Year-to-date difference or variance (D – E)

The variance allows you to see, at a glance, whether your sales or expenses have increased compared to last year. Seeing monthly variances is especially important if the business experiences seasonal fluctuations.

You can go one step further to explain the variances in an accounting process called account analysis. Take a look at the components of each number to see what caused the variance. Write your explanation in a notes section of your variance report.

You may not want to spend management time on the small variances. A good financial dashboard, or simply an Excel spreadsheet, can help you color-code the balances that are more than 10 percent (or any percent you feel is material) off track.

Variance to Plan or Budget

You can also develop a variance report that compares current period results to budget. Here, you would generate an income statement with these six columns:

  1. Current month actual activity, such as March 1 to March 31, 2022
  2. Budget for the same period above
  3. Month difference or variance or (over)/under (B – A)
  4. Year-to-date actual activity, such as January 1 to March 31, 2022
  5. Year-to-date budget, such as January 1 to March 31, 2021
  6. Year-to-date difference or variance or (over)/under (E – D)

Do the same thing above, color-coding and explaining the variances using account analysis. How did your budget details differ from what actually happened?  If it’s better, can you do more?  If it’s worse, how can you get back on track? Performing a timely variance analysis helps you find opportunities to exploit so you can make more money or investigate ways to get back on track faster so you don’t lose as much.

Of course, with budget versus actual variance reports, you do have to create the budget first!

If you’re not already receiving variance reports, would like help creating a budget, or would simply like to set up a session to better understand variances, please feel free to reach out any time.

You’re not alone if you’re having trouble attracting and keeping staff. A convergence of issues has created one of the greatest talent shortages in our lifetimes. With boomers retiring in large numbers, pandemic and opioid deaths, people not wanting to work for low wages, child care availability disappearing, tighter immigration policies, people rethinking their life choices, and so many other factors, it’s no wonder small businesses are having trouble finding workers.

The good news is small business owners still have a lot in their control to be able to attract the perfect candidate to our workplaces. Here are some ideas to help you do just that.

  1. Be open to multiple options when it comes to what an employee looks like

If you require a 40-hours-a-week, onsite worker who has to dress in formal clothes to come to work, you need to rethink everything. Many talented people are choosing to work part time, and it might just be easier to find two part-time workers instead of one full-time employee.

How much of the job can they do virtually?  This opens up your hiring pool nationally and perhaps even internationally. Consider also temporary versus permanent. And consider outsourcing certain functions as well.

The key is to be open to creative ways to get the job done.

  1. Make fun a vital part of your workplace

Even if there are numerous deadlines and serious work to be done, your workplace can still be fun. A good start is bringing food to work; camaraderie always blossoms around food.

Add in extra activities like movie or games night, take weekly team lunches, start an amateur sports team, or encourage co-worker get-togethers after work. Decorate the office for each holiday, and celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and employee successes. Create fun projects such as a volunteer day for a local charity, or support a team entry at a local fun run.

In short, create a culture where employees can not only have fun, but be themselves.

  1. Add perks, and not just the usual suspects

Employees are demanding more of their employers, and the best businesses are listening and delivering. Beyond increased pay and the usual benefits – 401K, health insurance, vacation, and PTO – here are some new additions:

  • Flex hours – more say in when they work
  • Work-at-home days – more people are working at home at least part of the time
  • Pet insurance – a New England CPA firm offers this to workers now
  • Extra PTO – one marketing agency in Texas provides unlimited PTO, no questions asked
  • Child care – any way to make this easy on parents is a plus

 

Other perks to think about are holiday gifts, bonuses, free dry cleaning, free car washes, and employee discounts.

  1. Embrace technology

Employees want the best tools you can give them so they can do a good job.  Be sure your employees are fitted with the latest hardware and software so there is less stress around the inevitable tech glitches that occur. There’s nothing worse than having a deadline and coming across a software glitch that wastes precious time.

  1. Apply marketing techniques to hiring

Instead of posting the old boring job ad, create a campaign to find employees. Make sure your social media is up to date and mirrors the fun culture of your organization. Be sure to look in places you may not have traditionally looked for candidates. Create a job interview process that’s interesting and enthusiastic. You’re definitely competing for talent, so doing all of these things will help you win.

We may be in a period of staff shortages, but there are still millions of people who want to work. Do just a little more for your employees and candidates than the small business down the street, and they will want to keep working for you.