I have been a small business owner for 27 years now. I know a few things about ups and downs and how to deal with them. Like many people out there, I have never experienced a “down” as bad as the past 5 years. I went from a thriving business to struggling to just pay the bills. I am the type of owner who puts his employees first and while I have had to cut costs, I have not laid anyone off. I take pride in this and I know my employees appreciate it as well. While they aren’t happy I had to get rid of Bagel Friday and summer trips to Great Adventure, they understood the reasoning behind the decisions. I only had one cost cutting idea backfire on me, and it was definitely not the one I expected. Every year I would give my employees a birthday card with a very nice personal message in it thanking them for their hard work. While the birthday cards aren’t overly expensive, I figured why not save a few bucks? I did not foresee the disappointment following this decision.
A long time employee’s birthday happened to be the first one to come after this decision. He was actually upset and thought that I had forgotten his birthday. The mix up was quickly cleared up but I could tell he was still disappointed he didn’t get a card. I got similar reactions from other employees as well. Everyone seemed to be ok with losing the impersonal events like Bagel Friday but not getting business birthday cards really seemed to affect morale. They truly appreciate the personal touch I gave to their birthday. Needless to say I began spending the extra money again to get those wonderful birthday cards. I even wrote out cards for those birthdays that I had missed. Even after 27 years of owning a business I am still learning new lessons every day.