1) Know your priorities. You don’t need fancy furniture, but an expensive espresso machine or occasional free lunch is worth every penny. Employees will adore you for that.
2) Get to know Google Docs. For your people who are online all the time, why waste money on Microsoft Office? Save the copies of MS office for those who travel or work from different locations. Although with Google Gears, that might not be a problem.
3) Let people work flex hours. Have a little heart, and your productivity will shoot up. If people would prefer working nights or weekends, let them do it. As long as it doesn’t disrupt networking with other employees. Especially if you’re in a city where commuting is a challenge, this will make a huge difference in morale and efficiency.
4) Cancel all meetings. Huge waste of time. The problem with meetings is that people talk for hours and think they’ve actually accomplished something. If you MUST have meetings, then do it standing up. It makes them go much faster.
5) Share a calendar online. Check out Google Calendar for instance. 90% of time wasting conflicts can be averted if everyone can see what the others are doing. Google mail will save you a ton of money as well. Did I mention it’s free?
6) Have one person do travel planning. Find someone good and let them run. Avoid the confusion of having multiple employees do their own travel planning.
7) Buy Macs. Eliminate or at least seriously decrease your IT department. It’s a myth that Macs are more expensive because they work out of the box, plus have most of the software you need already loaded.
8) Outsource, outsource, outsource. Why hire people in areas you’re not an expert in? Accounting, production, media, advertising, graphic design and more. Save on salaries, taxes, benefits, PLUS, you can afford better people on a project by project basis.
9) Reward your hardest workers. NEVER think you have to treat everyone equally. A successful business is about equal respect and rights, but not equal rewards. Reward the big producers and hard workers. Keep them motivated and it will make a dramatic difference.
10) Don’t be a slave to the employee manual. Show a little grace to your employees. If they need a break, send them home early. If they need a Starbucks run, let them go. Make your workplace more fun and they’ll work harder – not to mention happier.
11) The bottom line? Stop thinking like your father’s generation did, and start innovating. What is really important in the office? Is it filling out forms and attending meetings, or actually accomplishing something? It’s not about how much you can squeeze out of people – it’s about how much you can inspire them.