Big brand, enterprise business executives can afford to whisk their clients and top-performing employees from the airport in limos, send top managers to conventions in five-star destinations and woo clients over gourmet meals.
As a startup, or even an established small business, you may salivate at the thought of having a T&E expense account. But even if you don’t have that kind of cash on hand to make a powerful first impressions that doesn’t mean you can’t find cost-efficient ways to get similar results.
How to Impress Clients on a Budget
You might not have the flashy perks that come from doing business with a larger company, but you do offer plenty of knowledge and know-how in your industry. The trick is to make sure the clients are aware of this. Therefore, you should demonstrate your subject matter knowledge every chance you get.
You didn’t start a small business because it sounded cool. You started your business because you’re passionate about your industry. Talk about the ways your products and services help your clients’ goals, discuss the latest technology advances, and stay on top of your research.
Spend time working on ways to increase your authority in your niche. Create a helpful resource website or company blog to create a platform for displaying your skills. Consider creating ebooks, infographics and white papers to reinforce your industry expertise.
How to ‘Creatively’ Woo Employees
Finding and retaining quality talent is difficult when you’re just starting out. Often, startups can’t compete with head hunters who can afford to fly potential new hires in for multiple rounds of interviews, and sweeten the employment package with sign-on bonuses.
However you do have distinct advantages to offer that established organizations don’t: You’re a young company that offers opportunity to grow. Meanwhile, new hires will have the opportunity to wear several hats, and improve their marketability as their job description will entail a wider scope as the business adapts to its environment.
Meanwhile, offer flex time, which is recommended by The Daily Muse as a way to get the most efficiency out of your employees. It’s great for you because your employees choose their most productive hours to work, instead of settling in nine to five. Employees love it because they get to choose their schedules and work around their life situations. Throw in some telecommuting options, and you’ll have plenty of people chomping at the bit to get on board. To ensure deadlines are met, create metrics to measure employee productivity in and out of the office; just because you offer flexible work hours doesn’t mean you offer slack time.
Also, make sure employees are paid on time and for the exact amounts they are owed by using reliable online payroll software. You’ll earn employees’ trust when they know that getting paid is never an issue. Be upfront and honest about the ways they can earn more money or work their way towards higher responsibilities. Employees who see their work as an investment in their future are often satisfied, loyal and hard-working.
Lastly, stocking up the office kitchenette or break room is another relatively low cost way to keep your employees happy. It’s good for productivity, because a starving employee who lives off of vending machine food is not going to be as aware as one who has a healthy, delicious lunch you provide as an additional perk. Plan outings to local restaurants, as well, or rotate caterers from local businesses to support other small businesses.
Ryan Harrison is writing on behalf of Social Monsters, a strategic content creation and distribution company. Ryan earned his master’s degree in counseling and runs a small practice out of his home in the Midwest. He writes about relationships and the power of positive thinking and living for a number of blogs.
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