Running a small business can have its challenges, but I believe that for your employees it can also throw up many opportunities for development and recognition that would not be otherwise available in large businesses or recognised brands. For your small business to succeed, it’s imperative that you know how to motivate your team.
Small businesses are the perfect place for young, aspiring business professionals to hone in on their most successful attributes and develop practical business skills. Generally speaking, in larger businesses individuals are typically hired to do one repetitive role day in, day out. However, in a small business, individuals are likely to be given a greater, more exciting variety of tasks to complete. This is because there is only a limited amount of people available to complete said tasks – allowing the employees to develop a more varied skillset.
This positive development can quickly lead to increased chances of recognition and the chance to advance through the business as it grows. In a large corporation, it can be extremely difficult to achieve recognition, and stand out among the thousands of other employees who probably have never even met their CEO. In an SME it is often possible to get to know the CEO on both a professional and personal level, and your achievements are more likely to be recognised.
However, this positive cycle of recognition and business growth is only possible if business owners know how to motivate their staff. Motivation is critical in a small business, especially when the business owner is attempting to increase results and drive growth. Here are my top 5 tips to keep your small business team motivated, even when the budget is tight!
Coach not play – In my experience people HATE being told what to do, so instead of coming across as a pushy dictator and telling your team how you would like them to do something, turn this into ‘What options have we got to get this done?’ as this will help each individual understand the task and come up with their own solutions that might actually be better than yours!
Be generous with praise – It sounds easy because it is, and it resonates further than you might think. Independence is a valuable trait in small business employees, however, they need to know that you are there for them. Make it a habit to look for good things that people have done and praise them for their achievements.
Give recognition and small rewards – This could be as simple as public recognition at a team meeting or go as far as to offer bonus incentives. Avoid formalising it and never announce the new recognition policy – let it be a positive surprise! Above all, show that you appreciate their good work.
Any excuse for a party – Doing things as a group can go an extremely long way. Celebrating as a team can reinforce a sense of purpose and build strong loyalties which mean no one wants to let the team down and everyone works harder for it! Hey, it might even be fun!
Share the ups and downs – You’re in this together, not just when things are going well but when they fall off track too! Celebrate the good times together but also when it’s not so good, say so and look for resolutions together. For people to want the business to achieve great things they need to know that you are being open with them. Be honest and transparent.
Adopting these 5 motivational tips will help make sure all your staff are on board with the company’s direction and will encourage them to work harder for themselves and for the business as a collective mobbing forward.