As a former small business owner, I am a big proponent of capitalism. Capitalism is the primary engine that our economy is founded upon. Small businesses, entrepreneurship, free enterprise are some of the elements that make up the foundation that keeps our country’s economic engine purring.
Extraordinary ideas, inventions and revolutionary breakthroughs are products of capitalism, but nothing is perfect. In my many years in business I have come to learn what the most valuable asset is. If you ask many business owners what they think their most important asset is, you will often get a number of interesting answers. A new, expensive machine used in the production of their product, a new company vehicle to make deliveries or perhaps a new manufacturing facility. Even “customers” are frequently regarded as the greatest asset.
All of the above are vital assets for sure but what is often left out of the equation is the most significant and that is, what I have come to learn: the employee. There is an old saying that declares, “Business would be easy if it wasn’t for the employees.” The more appropriate adage should be, “If it wasn’t for the employees, this business would die.”
As businesses begin to open in this post-COVID era and attempt to resume normal operations, it is becoming more evident how essential an employee is. Many companies are struggling to find people. Putting aside for a moment the political reasons many individuals are not seeking work, this current climate demonstrates that the fundamental need for workers is crucial to the success of any enterprise.
Business owners must take care of their employees, pay them well, provide the necessary and often essential benefits that they deserve, treat them with respect and honor their loyalty to you and the organization.
With all of that said, let’s not leave out profit. A business must be profitable to endure. A business owner is constantly juggling priorities, hiring and firing, mitigating circumstances often beyond anyone’s control all in the quest to minimize losses and maximizing gains. When an organization becomes profitable, the ownership of that business should reap the rewards.
However, it is important to not leave out the individuals that made it possible. My note to owners out there is, “Don’t get greedy.”
A recent newsworthy story about a titan of industry purchasing a $500 million sailing yacht is somewhat concerning, given that he is reluctant to provide pay raises and certain benefits to an enormous number of his employees. Is there a hint of greed there?
What better time to reassess your relationship with those that work for you? My message to all business owners is to reacquaint yourself with your current employees, get to know your new hires and, most importantly, share the wealth. Be fair to yourself and your shareholders but, by all means, be fair to them.
As we all get back to doing our jobs following the most unprecedented episode in our history, capitalism will continue to endure as long as those in leadership roles do not leave their most important asset out of the equation: your employee.
The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.
G. Kevin Savord is currently a professional pilot and former small business owner. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.