Concerns around money are among the many elements of running a business that can keep entrepreneurs up at night—how to spend it, how to make it, how to save it, how to utilize it for the best possible return.
But what happens when small business owners find themselves with a little more in the bank than they were anticipating?
Instead of traditional expenses like online marketing and new equipment, these three entrepreneurs would spend an extra $1,000 in a way that business school courses don’t necessarily teach you.
Hire a Therapist or a Coach
It was 2016 and Jonathan Sparks was about three years into owning his Atlanta-based law firm Sparks Law when he one day came into the office and logged onto his business bank account. He had $5,000 in the bank, was due to run $20,000 in payroll in a few days, and started to panic.
“The thing is, I had a $80,000 line of credit that I’d never used because I assumed that if I touched it, it would mean that I was a total failure,” he remembers.
Sparks got on the phone with a friend, who is also a business/life coach. As she was coaching him through the situation, he mentioned his line of credit. She stopped the conversation abruptly to tell him that she, too, had a big line of credit that she’d just dipped in to. She then asked him if he saw her as a failure.
“I said, ‘Absolutely not, you are killing it,’” Sparks says. “Then she asked me, ‘OK, what makes you any different?’”
Sparks soon realized that some of his limiting beliefs were getting in the way of doing right by his business, so he decided seek out the help of a therapist, a process that he says has been, “monumentally helpful.”
“We all have psychological and emotional issues filling our headspace; we are human beings,” he says. “But if you are a business owner, your headspace really matters. If your mind, heart and spirit is spot on, you will make far better decisions. If it is off, you will make the wrong decisions.”
Entrepreneurship can be incredibly difficult for the person at the top and often involves high levels of worry and stress. Add to that the pressure of making things look perfect on the outside so customers and employees won’t jump ship, and “even the healthiest of individuals can find themselves being tested. It’s trial by fire,” he says.
Business owners with an extra $1,000 may consider investing that money into sessions with a therapist or business/life coach. Sparks says $1,000 will usually net around six sessions with professional therapist or coach, and it is absolutely worth it.
“There are things in our subconscious rattling around that we don’t know are there unless you have someone look at your mind and say, ‘Hey, that foundational belief is a lie. It isn’t your fault but you need to reprogram it,’” Sparks says.
One of Sparks’s foundational beliefs was that he couldn’t initiate sales calls. With the help of a coach, he spent about 20 hours of cold calling and within a week, generated $22,000 for his business.
“It was a crazy realization,” he says. “I had no way of knowing that I was stopping myself until I got help.”
Compensate Volunteer Hours
Thomas Jepsen has found himself in an advantageous financial position as CEO and founder of his company Passion Plans, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based house plans company, and recently came up with a distinctive way to pay his fortune forward.
“I’ve dedicated money to covering the costs of employees wanting to volunteer at this time,” he says. “I’m willing to cover up to 75 percent of their hourly wage. It has really helped not only earn goodwill among my team, but also strengthen ties to our local community during these difficult times.”
The reaction to this initiative has been overwhelmingly positive from Jepsen’s staffers. For entrepreneurs looking to do the same, he recommends brainstorming with employees about choosing charities, and trying to do a group (COVID-safe) volunteer outing.
Your business is only as good as the weakest link, and your employees are what allow you to grow and scale your business. [...] You need to do more than pay them. Make them feel included and create a positive culture. You can do that with less money than you may think.
—Mike Nemeroff, CEO and co-founder, Rush Order Tees
Enhance the In-Office Employee Experience
As vaccines are being rolled out all over the country and COVID-era restrictions are loosening, more and more entrepreneurs are inviting employees back into their offices. According to Mike Nemeroff, CEO and co-founder of Rush Order Tees, a custom T-shirt company in Philadelphia, this migration is a great opportunity to use an extra $1,000 to make the office environment better than ever.
“A small investment can go a long way,” he says. “Employees will notice things like new furniture, new light bulbs, new rugs, new couches and new appliances.”
When Nemeroff decided to bring in a new coffee machine and a carbonated flavored water machine, his staff was ecstatic.
“That water machine is their favorite thing and it only costs $50 per month,” he says. “We signed up a vendor to handle it on a monthly basis, and it is totally worth it.”
Another thing Nemeroff likes to do is invite local food trucks to park in the company’s lot. Some will come for free, while others that aren’t used to the Rush Order Tees’ 250+ employees will ask for funds up front.
“We will sometimes pay the food truck $100 to come the first time,” he says. “Employees will pay for their own meals, and they love it because we have different trucks come every Friday.”
Nemeroff believes strongly that small investments going a long way for employee satisfaction.
“Your business is only as good as the weakest link, and your employees are what allow you to grow and scale your business,” he says. “You need to do more than pay them. Make them feel included and create a positive culture. You can do that with less money than you may think.”
Photo: Getty Images
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