a group of people looking at a book

Creating a Great Workplace: Tips for Small Business Owners

Conan Young in a suit

Running your own business is all about learning on the fly, but one of the things you need to learn quickly is how to create a work environment that will keep your employees coming back. Hiring and training are expensive, so you’d do better to keep the staff you have and treat them well, especially if you live in a small town or rural area.

If you’ve ever had a job that was all business and no fun, then you know what it’s like to dread going to work every morning. No one likes having to get super creative to come up with new reasons to need a day away from work. Continue reading to get some tips to help you create an ideal workplace environment.

Value your employees for more than their business acumen.

One of the things about running a small town business within a rural area is that you don’t have a massive talent pool to choose from when it comes to the hiring process. The key to running a successful business within a small town is to put people first, whether they’re your customers or employees.

A grocery store is by far the best business to start in a small town. People have to eat, of course, and when they shop regularly at a particular grocery store, the place and the people become familiar. Small town grocery stores within rural areas aren’t just places where people get what they need for dinner, they’re also the place where people come to congregate and catch up on the local news with their friends.

You don’t want people coming into your establishment and seeing unhappy employees all the time. Furthermore, you want your employees to tell everyone how your grocery store is a great place to work. Bragging employees are good for gaining new customers and potential hires.

The key to this is to build relationships with your employees. You don’t have to be their best friend, but you should show some care for what’s going on in their personal lives. After all, your employees are people, not machines, and adding a personal touch to your management style will go a long way towards creating a great workplace environment.

Give performance incentives.

One of the hardest things about owning a small business is when you have to let someone go because they can’t seem to get it together and be an asset to your company. However, if you have to terminate someone’s employment for consistently falling short of expectations, then how much more should you reward them for going above and beyond the call of duty?

Performance incentives are an excellent way to bring the best out of your team members. Just ask John Foresi. These types of incentives can make for a profitable business and happy employees. He’s been using performance-based incentives to bring the winner out of his personnel for nearly 20 years with excellent results. Incentives and bonuses create healthy competition — which is always fun, and people work harder when they know there’s a reward for their efforts. Remember, excellence and rewards go together just like crime and punishment!

Maintain high expectations while leaving room for error.

When running a small business, it’s a must that you maintain high expectations for yourself and your personnel. The thing about workplace expectations is that people tend to live up to them. If you set the bar low, then people will probably fall under it but if you set the bar high, they’re just as likely to exceed your expectations.

It’s important that you temper your expectations with patience and understanding — you have to find the balance between having high expectations and not being too uptight. You don’t want your employees to be scared to make mistakes for fear of your wrath. Ironically enough, when people are scared to fail, they’re usually just as scared to be great. Give your employees the confidence they need to be great, and they’ll reward you with excellence.

A great business is one where the employees are happy and they want to make you proud and the customers happy. As a small-town business owner, it’s up to you to create that environment. Whether you do or don’t create a great work environment, word of mouth will precede you, so take the time care for your employees and your customer base. You won’t regret it.