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25 Things to try for your Holiday eCommerce Business

Posted on December 26, 2013 by Jessica

'Tis the season for shoppers to be hitting the internet hard and fast in their quest to find the must-have products at the must-have prices. And if you're a savvy business, you'll have spent months preparing for the best time of year for any merchant: Black Friday and beyond, when most businesses are able to make sure they end the year in the black by offering killer deals that just can't be passed up. With online sales on Black Friday now surpassing 1 billion dollars, and holiday shopping during the months of November and December resulting in significant profits for businesses, you want to make sure that your website, as well as your sales and marketing staff, are ready for festive business. Here are a few tips to help you prepare and make the most of the holiday shopping season:

Plan ahead. Always plan ahead by getting as early of a start as possible on your ecommerce plans for the holiday shopping season. Begin making tentative plans and product and sale listing schedules as early as June and July.

Don't panic. Even if you didn't optimally plan for the holiday shopping season, you can still make the most of things. Jump in with some festive decor for your website, renewed interest in corresponding with customers on Facebook, and the offerings of holiday sales and promotions.

Give your site a festive makeover. With as much as 41 percent of holiday spending being done during the Black Friday weekend, make sure your site is ready to go with its holiday look no later than the week of Thanksgiving. Simple touches like adding a bundle of ornaments to your logo, setting a jaunty Santa Claus hat onto the corner of the first letter in your business name, or changing link colors from blue to red or green can go a long way in showing your holiday spirit. And on the SEO end of things, you'll definitely want to incorporate such search-engine-grabbing keywords like "Black Friday Sale" and "Cyber Monday Sale". Use these in headings, links, site content, and even as the ALT descriptions for relevant images.

Set up PPC campaigns. The opportunity to earn traffic, visitors and ultimately sales from PPC campaigns is at its best during the holiday shopping season. Utilize Black Friday and Cyber Monday keywords and banners to get the most clicks.

Add a holiday countdown ticker. Create a fun yet slightly panicky sense of urgency on your site by showcasing a holiday countdown ticker. Set the ticker to show how many days there are until Christmas. Additionally, consider placing brief information about your shipping info nearby - for example, underneath a holiday ticker you could have wordage such as, "Order by 12/20 and select 2-3 day shipping to get your package by December 24th!"

Promote gift cards. There isn't a better time than the holiday season to promote your gift cards. Gift cards are a so-so buy during most of the year, but at Christmastime, when there are plenty of parents, adult siblings, and co-workers who have no idea what to get one another, gift cards are sure to be a big hit. Offer expedited shipping on gift cards or even e-mail delivery to further entice buyers.

Show off the clearance merchandise. You may be able to finally move clearance merchandise off the shelves by showcasing some of the good, gift-worthy stuff to your holiday shoppers. Dedicate a spot on your page or within a product listing grid for your clearance items. Be sure to highlight the ultra-low prices on these items, which will attract frugal shoppers.

Offer gift wrapping and Secret Santa shipping. Many holiday shoppers don't have the time or desire to wrap gifts, especially if they have to then pay to ship those wrapped gifts to their final destination. Throw in free gift wrapping on orders of a minimum price, and be sure to include Secret Santa shipping - with this option, the recipient receives a receipt with the item, but no prices are listed.

Highlight holiday shipping deadlines. The biggest question holiday shoppers have in regards to purchasing online merchandise is, "Will I get it in time for Christmas?" Put together a simple table that lists product ship dates on the left, and product delivery dates on the right. Encourage shoppers to choose shorter shipping options (though these are usually a bit costlier) or do their shopping sooner in order to avoid stalking the postal service mercilessly in the days leading up to Christmas.

Clearly state payment and shipping info. Going hand in hand with what has already been mentioned - always be clear with stating costs and times associated with preparing orders for shipment and the actual shipment of those products. If there are daytime deadlines for placing orders that will ship on that same day, make sure you are clear with this, too. And if you offer free shipping or a free product on orders that meet a certain threshold, make sure this is clearly explained, so that you don't have disappointed customers walking away from their shopping cards.

Offer free shipping. Eat some of the shipping costs your customers will have to deal with by offering to cover it yourself. Reasonable exclusions make sense, but you should be willing to offer free shipping on smaller purchases, like jewelry, makeup, clothing, and toys.

Promote your festivity on your blog and social media profiles. The Christmas season is everywhere, so even if you're less of a Santa Claus type and more of a Scrooge, it's important that you paste a smile on your face, plop a Santa hat on your head, and take to your blog and Facebook status and Twitter update with proclamations of how exciting this time of year is. Or, at the very least, showcase and highlight some of the more festive, holiday-oriented sections of your website.

Offer themed gift shopping pages. Just as many holiday shoppers will traipse up and down the aisles at department stores, trying to find that special someone just the right gift, plenty of shoppers will be aimlessly browsing your website, hoping to click upon the perfect item. By taking the time to put together gift guides for different recipients (co-workers, children, teenagers, men, women, etc.), you'll make it easier for your shoppers to find a gift, and then purchase that gift.

Show your holiday spirit by giving back. Many businesses are giving back to communities by donating proceeds of certain purchases to charity, or even by directly donating shipments of clothing, toys, or food to neighborhood programs. You too can get on board with this, and you'll definitely want to toot your own horn by mentioning your decision to give back on social media. You can promote your decision to give to those in need on your website by offering customers the chance to give to. Offer to add on $1 donations to their purchases, or let them select a charity to send an item to if they make a qualifying purchase. Holiday shoppers are quick to notice and talk about businesses who aren't just thinking about their profits during the holiday season - this is a group of businesses you definitely want to be among.

Be mobile ready. If you're not yet mobile ready, now's the time to make the necessary changes to your website so that your visitors can easily access and navigate your website, whether they're on a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone. 30 percent of shoppers plan on shopping online, and more than half of the purchases they make are done on a mobile device. Don't lose out on sales because your website isn't designed to be responsive and adaptable to all mobile platforms.

Update your site regularly. Do daily check-ins to look for mis-priced merchandise, incorrect inventory, and even simple things like types or mis-aligned images that need tending to.

Check in on social media. Cross promote your site and its selection of holiday-perfect items on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and even Instagram. Use your company's name as a hashtag to make it easier for others to find and chime in on your conversations.

Hit the email marketing hard. Now's a good time to put together daily email newsletters. Each newsletter can have the latest and greatest must-have products listed, maybe a few DIY gift and baking ideas, and a handy countdown to Christmas ticker to motivate customers to click and buy.

Collect emails. While you're working on building traffic and sales, throw up a pop-up that offers new customers the opportunity to sign up for your newsletter with just one click. Many consumers will do so, even if for no other reason than to hope for coupons and exclusive discounts.

Utilize coupons. Coupon codes can be a saving grace during the holiday season, when tight budgets are stretched even tighter. Offer a simple 10 or even 15 percent coupon that has no conditions to be met, and watch how your customers will suddenly swarm your site to make purchases.

Hold a giveaway. Consider holding a giveaway for a high value item, or even a $50 or $100 gift certificate to your store. Set up the giveaway somewhere on your site or blog to draw traffic to your site, and encourage entrants to browse your site, follow you on Twitter, like you on Facebook, etc., to build your social media following.

Be there and be ready to chat. Set up a live chat service, and make sure that it's actually staffed by a person who can jump in to answer a customer's questions.

Prep staff. Prepare your staff for what they can expect during the holiday shopping season, and consider adding one or two more people, especially if you offer live chat and phone support.

Staff your site's back-end. Last but certainly not least, make sure that your website's server is equipped to handle the increased load from traffic and website purchases. Considering upgrading resources such as bandwidth, and even CPU and RAM, to make sure that your site will stay up and running at all times.

Are you in the eCommerce business?  What tips would you recommend following next year? 

Creating the Perfect Social Media Team

Posted on September 25, 2013 by Jessica

As a small business owner or start-up, funds may be limited. Thankfully, social media marketing allows you to reach out to new customers and develop relationships with them at no cost, except for your time. As the owner of a company, your plate is likely full and your time is valuable, making it necessary to delegate your business’s social media marketing tasks. Before you start assigning random tasks and run the risk of losing sincerity in the eyes of your audience, there are some ways you can successfully delegate your daily social media tasks without losing the unique authenticity responsible for your appeal.

1. Automate Your Twitter Updates and Delegate Your Facebook Updates

You can schedule and delegate the tasks of posting Facebook updates to a trusted employee, and you can use automated software to automatically post Twitter updates on your behalf. Many business owners choose to write a schedule of upcoming updates and select an employee to post the updates as scheduled while making them unique. Thanks to technology, you can develop a list of messages and schedule them to be automatically sent out to your Twitter profile. 

2. Delegate Responses to Invitations and Page Requests

Another way to free yourself from spending hours on your business’s Facebook account is to delegate the page requests and invitations you may be inundated with to your assistant or another employee. These can easily start to pile up in no time at all, and if you receive numerous requests to attend events, join groups, and “like” certain pages, you can develop guidelines and have an employee clear or respond to these messages on your behalf.

3. Delegate or Automate Follower and New Friend Requests

The more friends you have in your social media networks the better. There are automated applications that can be used for Twitter to actively seek out and find potential followers and even send them a welcome message. You can delegate the same task to an employee to grow your Facebook friends as well. This will save you a tremendous amount of time, grow your business, and allow you to focus on other important tasks.

4. Delegate the Set-Up of Promotions, Workshops, and Other Events on Facebook

Promotional events can be huge for your business, but setting up these events can easily be outsourced as well. The set-up of these important events should include event information, all of the logistical details, and the invitation of friends and fans.

5. Receive Help with the Management of Messages and Replies

Once your business is rolling along and you start develop thousands of friends and followers, hours can be spent simply managing and responding to messages. This task can be delegated to an employee who can identify spam and is well-versed in the proper way to respond to a variety of messages.

Do you think any of these tips can be applied to your business? Are there any other ways you can simplify your social media marketing? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below! 

Motivating Your Employees

Posted on February 18, 2013 by Jessica

In the competitive world of retaining the best employees, it is clearly understood that vacation pay, health care and salaries make the top of the perk wish list. As things like bonus cutbacks, raise freezes and fewer stock options become necessary, it is harder to keep employees motivated.

Even though companies go through good times and bad, they still want their employees to know that their job is more than just a paycheck, and they want their people invested in their organization’s future. To do so, they must create the environment and culture that make people want to stay. Below are five economical and surefire ways to keep your employees motivated in 2013.

Flexibility – Time has no price. Along with offering paid vacation time from work, most companies enhance that benefit with some paid time-off or the ability to work from home after a specific amount of time. Things like summer hours, flex-time and 4-day work weeks are all still at the top of the wish list for employees. The cost to the company is very little, but it can help a good workplace suddenly become a great workplace for the employees.

Encouraging Good Health – Even though it may not be realistic for all companies to have a health club or gym, employers can reward their employees who want to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle to keep their work and life balance in check. One way to do this is by offering employees gym membership discounts. As well, offer team building events that add an element of social activity mixed with physical activity as an alternative to happy hour. Some ideas might be team bowling, softball games and dodge ball (our team particularly likes hiking). 

Rewards and Acknowledgements – Everyone likes to be rewarded and acknowledged. This can be something as simple as singling out a top performing employee with a coffee gift card, having a happy hour event after work for employees, bestowing your office staff with a massage or tickets to a baseball or football game. This type of gesture encourages camaraderie, helps keep employees motivated, boosts morale and has employees looking forward to the next surprise.

Work Environment – Create a nice work environment around your employees that reflect their personalities and skills. Studies have shown that offices and cubicles are shifting to light interactive spaces with lots of color. These promote positive energy and a nice comfortable area for employees to work in.

Does your office use any of these methods to motivate employees? Which work best for your team? Let us know in the comments below!

Three Useful Ways to Improve a Team's Workflow

Posted on August 16, 2012 by Josh Mc

Leaders, managers and team members have been an integral part of human society as far back as we can see into history, whether they were building ancient societies or fighting the first known wars. Even in these times that may seem distant to our own, there are principles that determine a team's productivity. Shifting focus to these principles is an easy way to identify the weak points of a typical workflow.

Provide the Right Tools for the Job

Imagine ten workers that have been assigned to clean the tile floor of a huge, 10-story building. Two of these workers have brooms, two have mops and six of them have a toothbrush. Anyone with a discerning eye can understand that having 6 toothbrush-wielding workers is a bad idea, and this concept translates directly to teams responsible for different tasks in virtually every field.

Whether it's a toothbrush, software, a comfortable chair, a truck or countless other tools that can improve an worker's output, providing an employee with the tools necessary for the job is instrumental in them being successful. Managing that workflow with tools such as Trello can also help to see where the employees are at and what snags may be holding up their progress. Even if a tool seems expensive, if you consider the amount of hours it saves an employee in the day, that can in turn be attributed to a different task or job, then the price quickly becomes worth it.

Supplement Communication

Communication is almost always a factor in teamwork. Dissonant attitudes between team members often leads to poor communication and is one of the underlying issues that makes personal disputes in a team such a threat to success. Communication should almost be held sacred, like something that is to never be tainted and only appreciated. Improving communication is similar to sharpening a blade, in that it isn't about turning a piece of metal into a samurai's sword in the blink of an eye, but rather, it is about making small, precise changes that shape the team into a fully functional unit. For example, if one teammate does not understand critical news that affects a project, their ability to rapidly adapt is diminished by their lack of understanding. These situations are easily alleviated with proper communication, and there are thousands of books and documentaries on the subject.

Work with Strengths

Humans have a huge propensity to have both strengths and weaknesses. Things like anxiety, insecurity, awkwardness, laziness and countless other issues can all have a huge impact on a seemingly simple project. This is something that has to be expected, but a good manager will see which people will work best on which projects and assign them accordingly, thus allowing each member to use their strength and weaknesses to achieve a common goal.

A great team is made up of complementary strengths that can work together well. If the sum of a team's strength is great enough to accomplish a task, then there should be no debate or worry of the weaknesses of the individuals of the team. If the strengths of a team are properly organized, weaknesses will never be a concern. The weakness of a team can always be assuaged with better tools, training and communication, but the strengths of a team are its foundation for success.

These are just a couple ideas on how to improve a team's workflow. If you have any additional ideas, make sure to leave them in the comments.

Creating Organizational Culture

Posted on April 3, 2012 by Arianna

Companies have always tried to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Whether it is by providing amazing customer service like Nordstrom, or being eco-friendly like Johnson & Johnson, their ultimate goal is to be known for their behavior along with their products. The concept of organizational culture is what defines companies such as these. Although culture in an organization has always existed, it seems that now more than ever companies are at work trying to define and cultivate it. Unfortunately for many of these companies, their understanding of organizational culture has limited their progress. I, like many of these companies, have the daunting task to define my department’s culture.

My first question was obvious, “How do I create and define our department culture?”

Since I had no understanding of the concept, some research was definitely needed. John M. Invacevich, Robert Konopaske and Michael T. Matteson wrote a book titled Organizational Behavior and Management which helped grasp the concept of organizational culture. The text explains that, “Organizational Culture is what the employees perceive and how this perception creates a pattern of beliefs, values, and expectations”.

In order to create our department culture, I went to Edgar Schein’s “Three Layers of Organizational Model” for structural help. The first layer is visible artifacts and creations. These may often be difficult to interpret, but include things like a company’s office set up such as cubicles, technology, art, and even company newsletters. The second layer is the organizational value, or what is important to the leadership of a company. And the third layer is the basic assumptions made by employees in a corporation that guide their behavior.

There are three types of organizational culture: Customer-Service culture, Ethical culture, and Diversity culture.  In Customer-Service culture the main focus is obviously customer satisfaction. An example of this is Nordstrom, who rewards employees for going out of their way to provide exceptional service. Ethical culture focuses on the well being of the environment and the improvement of people as a whole – of which Johnson & Johnson is a prime example. Diversity culture encompasses and promotes diversity in employees, customers and business relationships. Zappos, the internet retailer, has applied the diversity culture, striving for diversity in each department of their company.

Though a company can have all three types of organizational cultures it is really important to focus on one culture and branch out. Since I am merely trying to define my customer service department culture, my focus has mainly been in the Customer-Service culture. I have yet to fully define it, and though it is a long process, I hope to include my employees in the creation and definition of our culture. In the end it is all about what employees believe it is.

In what ways, has your company defined and implemented its company culture? How has that worked out for you?

A Walkthrough for Problem Solving in the Workplace

Posted on March 28, 2012 by Josh Mc

Every professional knows that problem solving and decision making are two skills that are used every day in conducting business affairs. No matter what a person's official job title, he will be faced with problems that require solutions. Solving those problems quickly and effectively is what makes an individual stand out as a competent employee and leader among their peers.

Unfortunately, problem solving skills are not taught to many people. Instead, most individuals learn how to deal with problems through trial-and-error, and their methods may not be as effective as they could be. Here are the steps for confronting and solving problems at work:

1.) Identify what the problem is. Before a solution can be made, the problem must be accurately identified. Be sure that you understand not only what the issue is, but what caused the issue and what the real consequences of the issue are. By identifying a problem at its source, you can deal with it once and for all.

2.) Recognize everyone's interests. Most problems affect more than one person in the workplace, and different people may be affected differently. Before proposing solutions, be sure you understand who is affected and how; this will help you come up with an answer that will suit everyone's needs.

3.) Understand that you can't make everyone happy. Although you must take other people's concerns into account, at the end of the day it's often impossible to satisfy everyone. You must make an effort to create a solution that balances the needs of the company, the customer and the employee, but you must also accept that a perfect balance is not always possible. Do the best you can and more forward.

4.) Brainstorm solutions and weigh the possibilities. Come up with as many possible solutions as you can. Quite often, problems create anxiety because there seems to be no solution. The more potential solutions, the less problematic the concern becomes. Even if some solutions seem ridiculous, it will help to see as many options as possible. At that point you can weigh the pros and cons of any decision and decide which choice is the best for your needs.

5.) Make a contingency plan. Sometimes, a solution won't work. If the projected solution doesn't fit, make a backup plan and implement it. Understand that problem solving is an ongoing process, and not all problems have to be solved immediately. Some complex problems may take a long time to resolve, but as long as you're putting forth the effort to try, you will be rewarded by a satisfying resolution eventually.

These are the steps that I recommend when solving a problem in the workplace, if you feel I left something out please let me know in the comments.

How to Quit Your Job Without Burning Bridges

Posted on January 13, 2012 by Arianna

As we start a new year, many of us will be working on New Year resolutions. For some it will be the same “lose weight” resolution, for others it might be “go back to school”, or “get a better job.” Focusing on the last resolution, many of us want better jobs and fail to go after them. Here at Gordian Project, we rejoice with those whom have left us and embrace the new co-workers who will soon become a part of our work family. However, many of us struggle to understand why people decide to quit their current job, especially in the economy we currently face. This blog is simply a collection of tips that will help you when moving from one job to the next. So read on and leave a comment if you agree or disagree.

There are several reasons why someone chooses to move on. Some leave for personal reasons, others financial, while others still have life events that cause changes to happen.  Barbara Safani wrote about why people quit their jobs in a tough economy, and the reasons are pretty good reasons. People often postpone quitting their jobs because not only is it a delicate subject between the employee and employer but it is often seen as a negative or bad decision. Safani ends her article explaining, “If you are unemployed or dissatisfied in your current position, you too may benefit from the surge of vacancies left by others who voluntarily resign. A job that is not a good match for another person may be the perfect match for you.”

With this said, I wanted to focus on the quitting process. We understand why people quit, and we understand that quitting a job is a natural part of career progress; however we also need to understand how to quit without burning bridges.

First you need to realize that though it is not a negative decision, it is a delicate subject. Knowing when to inform your employer that you are leaving will help you confirm your decision. Often times when an employee tells their superior that they are quitting due to extra benefits or increased salaries, the employer will want to counter-offer and meet those extra benefits to try and convince the employee to stay. This is why it is important for you to inform your employer of the benefits you are being offered before saying “I’m quitting.” If the company can make you a good counter-offer, then you may want to stay with them, and if they cannot, then that can help to make your decision easier.

Second, use your communication skills to make sure your announcement is said and received in a positive manner. Instead of explaining how you hate your job, explain how you found a position where you can use your skills and which is closer to your passion. Talk about how good the change is for you and how much you will miss those around you. Don’t burn bridges. Maybe the company cannot counter-offer the benefits you are looking for, but at a later time they may be able to provide you with an even better position. If you don’t burn bridges you may get a future employment offer, but at the very least you will have a positive recommendation as you move forward in your work career.

Third, be professional and provide a complete two week notice. Less and less people provide their employers with a notice, and the truth is that it can show how professional you are and how much you cared about your co-workers and the company by how much time you give them to prepare for your departure.  If you cannot provide a notice, provide your employer with a written letter explaining the circumstances and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

Lastly, throw a farewell party. Any reason is a good reason to throw a party!  Invite all your co-workers, your bosses and managers. By including all of your co-workers, you are making sure you end your current relationship on a positive note.

Remember, quitting is not a big deal when it’s done right. Let me know what you think in the comments and if you have other suggestions on how to quit without burning bridges.

Five Considerations When Hiring IT Staff

Posted on December 6, 2011 by Josh Mc

Hiring an employee to handle IT (Information Technology) responsibilities can feel overwhelming, especially if a business is new and does not have much experience in having an IT department. Hiring a good IT person is a huge asset to the company, while hiring a bad one can actually hurt workplace moral. By keeping in mind the below considerations, you should be on your way to selecting a good IT person for your workplace.

1. Knowledge
In order to find the right IT guy, it is important to consider whether or not they truly understand the business. Do they really know what their responsibilities consist of and what they may be expected to do during certain times of the year? They need to be aware of what they are in for and what skills they will be expected to use at any given time. You will also want to test their knowledge of these skills so that you know you are hiring someone that can walk the talk.

2. Personality
The IT person that will work well with the business needs to have a positive and engaging personality. Other employees, for example, should not be nervous or afraid about approaching them; a negative work environment can only lead to unhappiness and widespread consequences. If the IT staff is full of friendly personalities, people will be more confident about their performance and role in the business. The IT person should be willing to work with others and contribute to the health of the business.

3. Willingness
Any good employee, no matter what their tasks may be or who they are working for, needs to be willing to try new things. If they are presented with a job they have never handled or been exposed to before, they cannot behave as though they are positive they are going to fail. The potential employee needs to be willing to do what they can to handle the new responsibility; not just for their own sake, but for the sake of the IT department and the success and growth of the business as a whole.

4. Flexibility
On top of a willingness to try, it is also important for an employer to consider a potential IT guy that is flexible. They should be able to handle whatever comes their way, be it a computer that simply will not turn on or a virus that has infected the data system in the office. Also, they should be able to change their hours to deal with fixing a computer when an employee has gone for the day or do some late night work if the website has gone down. Often, they will have to be flexible when it comes to helping customers deal with tech products issues, should such a thing apply. An employer needs an IT employee that can adjust what they are doing to handle different problems, especially when it comes to technology.

5. Professionalism
One of the most important considerations to remember is professionalism. No matter how social the IT person may be, or how willing they are to handle new responsibilities on a daily basis, it means little if they are not professional. If they do not appear to take their job seriously, or if they appear to be immature, they should not be hired for any positions.

Hiring an IT guy, for any business, can be seen as a stressful venture. However, by looking at the considerations above, an employer can hope to have a higher success rate. If you have other considerations that you use, make sure to leave them in the comments.

How Hard is Getting a Job at Google (Infographic)

Posted on November 29, 2011 by Josh Mc

I know this is two inforgraphics in a row, but this one is so interesting that I could not resist posting it. For all of the hiring managers and HR departments out there you will be interested in seeing what it takes to get a job at Google and then being able to contrast that with your own company. Check it out below and let me know what you think in the comments.

What it takes to get a job at Google

Infographic by Jobvine Recruitment Network

 

Five Tips for Boasting Employee Moral Without Losing Work Hours

Posted on October 17, 2011 by Josh Mc

When most business people hear the term "boosting employee morale", they usually picture exotic corporate retreats with corporate gurus guiding the group through trust exercises. The problem this concept is that it involves a great deal of money, time away from productive work, or both. Fortunately, most employees can be given a huge moral boost through simple recognition and fun. Below are five methods of making the workplace a more positive place for employees without wasting a great deal of time or spending a great deal of money.

You Know What Would Be Good On These Ribs?
Take any random sampling of four adult males and the likelihood of finding at least one who considers himself a grillmaster is probably 100%. Take advantage of this by having a company sponsored barbecue lunch. The grillmaster himself may be nonproductive for a couple of hour out of the day, but the rest of the staff can run out and grab a plate during their normal lunch period. To really run with the idea, have people sign up to become grillmasters at the monthly barbecue and offer a prize at the end of the year for the best. In addition to raising morale, this is a rapport building event suitable for inviting clients.

A Little Recognition Please
This concept has been underutilized in the past. A popular physical corporate joke is the employee of the month picture hanging somewhere in the back of the office - a picture that no one has bothered replacing in a decade. Creating a little ceremony to announce outstanding work, sacrifices a couple of minutes but can inspire people to be more productive every working moment in an effort to achieve the recognition.

Make Them Feel Special

For those who require a greater incentive than simple recognition, offering special privileges could turn an adequate worker into a frenzied production machine. The classic example of this is the parking spot next to the door reserved for the employee of the month. Offering a benefit that is not taken for granted as an employee's due, but rather a prize to be earned can boost morale and employee work ethic.

But It's For The Children
Throw a party that includes the children of employees. From a basic pizza party to a full blown private fair, having the kids happy with the company will make employees happier. Clients also have children. When clients' children are looking forward to a company's annual fair, the odds are much better that clients will remain customers for a long time.

Do You Know a Better Way?
Offer incentives or recognition for improvements in the way the company does business. It is amazing how often a long term employee can be filled with great ideas for improving profitability but never bother mentioning them. It is equally amazing how offering small incentives or recognition for such ideas can streamline a company's processes and make employees happy.

For businesses that cannot afford losing staff or spending money on long morale building trips, a little imagination can produce results just as good without the expense. What other tips do you have for maintaining employee moral? Make sure to leave them in the comments.