We often times romanticize what it is like to own a small biz. Sales are great, our customers are lovely, I’m taking a long vacation while my employees keep up with the orders, my taxes are done and I’m buying a new car next week! Insert sound of screeching tires now. It is rarely like this, even in the most successful companies. There are definitely “not so glam sides to running a small biz” and today I focus on paying the staff.
First, who is your staff? Your staff is every person you pay to help make your business more successful. (I am going to lump employees, contract labor and anyone you pay a monthly fee to all in the same category as “staff” for this message.) You depend on these people to show up on time, do the duties you have hired them to do in a reasonable amount of time and on time. They perform these duties for you and as a result, if you have hired properly, your business runs smoothly, your sales are increasing, your office is clean, your website works, etc.
In BizEtiquette, #49 reads, “ALWAYS pay your staff on time and in full.” Without your staff, you are definitely NOT going to reap any of the glam benefits of small biz so why mess around with them. The same way that you depend on them, they depend on YOU. They have mouths to feed, insurance to pay for and they shouldn’t have to remind you to get paid.
In my biz, I pay staff FIRST. And, if there is ever a question in how much I owe them and I can’t get an answer before payday, I pay them the higher amount. I may be a little high energy, I may change my mind a lot, I might get overly emotional when a vendor doesn’t deliver but my staff knows that when it comes to getting paid, I AM RELIABLE. This carries a lot of weight in the employer-employee relationship.
In case you are feeling a bit unorganized when it comes to payroll, here are a few tips:
1. If the monthly payroll is too much to bite off, switch to weekly or bi-monthly. This will help lessen the brunt of a big payroll nut.
2. Use a payroll service like Paychex if you can afford it. It takes less time to manage and they get it right as long as you report it right. **Bonus Tip** For me, using Paychex helps me stay on time with paying my employee payroll taxes. It just comes out in one lump and again, paid on time.
3. If you are really having a hard time paying your staff because you just don’t have the money, it is time to sit down with your pencil and your biz plan and start thinking what is wrong. Go to a free biz advice counselor like SCORE for assistance asap. It sounds like your biz might be sick.
Do you have some tips that might help someone with payroll? I’d love to see them!