It really does not matter what kind of business you are running; whether you are an owner of a local greengrocer's or if you are a regional manager of a branch of a ginormous enterprise, or anything in between; your main weapon is always the same – your employees.
Your employees are on the front lines – they are interacting with the clients/customers, they are testing the market daily, they are coming up with new ideas and practices that will benefit your business and your income (hopefully). It is because of this and because of a number of other reasons why a smart manager, supervisor or a business-owner will always invest in their employees and their staff.
Determine what you need
The first thing that you have to do when you decide to start investing in your employees is to determine what you need them to be able to do. For example, do you need all of them to know absolutely everything about your operation or would it be enough if they know only about the job they are doing every day? Do you need them to become better with customers? Do you need them to be better sellers? Do you need them to be innovative and come up with new ways to boost your business? Only when you determine these, can you start thinking about ways in which you can accomplish this.
Think about professional help
In many cases, you will be able to do a lot to improve the skills of your employees, but sometimes, this is just too big of an undertaking and there is just too much that has to be done in a very limited amount of time. This is particularly true if your employees need to learn professional skills and improve their theoretical knowledge. In such cases, you might enroll them in various courses where they will learn about business in general and about your industry in particular.
Sometimes these will be pricy and they might take quite a bit of time, but they will be more than beneficial for your employees and, subsequently, your business. With the staff that is more knowledgeable and more skilled, only good things can come.
Invest in the work conditions
The environment in which your employees work has a gigantic effect on how well they do their job and how much they invest themselves. If you have your team of 15 crammed in an office the size of a phone booth, you cannot expect them to work at their full potential. Make sure that they have all the amenities and even some luxuries that will make them feel less stressed and more appreciated, so both you and your workers can start the day right.
You also need to be absolutely careful not to put too much pressure on the staff on a daily basis. They need to understand their tasks and obligations, but there is no need to hover over them, do spotlight searches of the office, making sure that everyone is working every second of every minute of every hour. You will be surprised as to how much this will improve the end result.
Make sure to acknowledge their work
There is nothing that crushes the spirit of an employee like feeling that they are doing everything and not being noticed, appreciated or even acknowledged. If someone has done a particularly good job, give them a bonus; give them a day or two off. It does not have to be anything too expensive even. It is the act that counts. A good idea is always to organize the employee of the month competition where the best will be especially rewarded.
In the end, it all comes down to simply being a nice person and treating your employees the way you would like to be treated yourself. People need to understand that they are appreciated and that they are treated like the professionals that they are. If you can find the budget to improve their skills and spend some time with them; then do it.