If you're like most small businesses today you're looking for leverage to increase the bottom line without loading up at the top. Yes, it's possible. You decide.
1) Barter Services
There are a number of ways to barter what you do or sell for what you need. There are even companies that make their living by brokering barter services and products for a percentage in the middle. For a local barter company in your area, just Google 'barter service "My Town"' to find someone local.
Let's assume you are a muffin shop with a growing customer phone room. You need to hire, but you need to furnish too -- each and every call center station. Why not barter the cubicle furniture, new or used for a few muffins or bagels per day? They're just crumbs now -- but profits a coming.
For entry level or even specialist tech work, why not hire an intern from you local college or trade school? You've never seen the enthusiasm that an intern can bring to your company until you hire one. They are ready to work 'day one', aren't looking for vacation time or pay and certainly add a lot to the lunch room chatter. Our youth is our future. And sometimes, just sometimes, they will become your next great employee, manager or leader. Besides, they're looking to you as a mentor. You can't go wrong on this one.
Not everyone is motivated as you are. Many just need their pay check to meet their car payment. Fit your employee's needs and motivation to the job you expect them to fill. There is nothing more deleterious than to expect more than someone is willing or capable of providing.
For them, you may just be supplying the child care expenses or the extra cushion for retirement. How can you expect a hero when your employee has different needs. Edison said: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration". Don't expect inspiration and only get perspiration. Let's be fair. It's your job to find the geniuses.
There is nothing honorable or purposeful in business if you don't negotiate your price for business products or services. Stand up! Negotiate! Fight for rights! That's right. For example, companies that carry your overnight deliveries, your bottled water, your coffee and recyclable shredded paper, they want your business. Don't lay down for their first offer. That's their offer to improve 'their bottom line'. It does nothing for yours. Shop around. Get bids and contract proposals. Expect that they have a better offer up their sleeve and you will usually get it. I know you just want to succeed, but so do they. And do so -- on your back. Negotiate for your survival and succeed!
Never, never, never have only one banking relationship. Every bank has a bottom line and a different set of needs at different times and under different circumstances. None of which you can predict or adapt. At one moment, your 'main bank' may have open arms at another their competitors down the street are more inviting. Who, are you in business for, them or you? Don't lock your allegiance to any one bank. They don't see you in this same warming light. Be the commanding customer --- not the fondling fool.
Charlie Stone is a banker by day, blogger night. Having recently started his first blog, a family story, he is always ready to shell out advice. However, he also takes good advice when he can it. When he needed new dental insurance this past year, a friend suggested that he check out http://www.