Managing a small business can be challenging. You’ll invest lots of hours and face chronic uncertainty, as you question whether your projected profit margins and sales will play out, and deal with the consequences of dozens of unknown variables.
As you meet each challenge, and achieve each milestone, it’s tempting to focus on whatever the next hurdle is, so that you can keep growing. But if you want to see better results and feel better about your business, it’s better to celebrate even the smallest wins.
Why Celebration Is Valuable
Let’s start by evaluating why celebrations are valuable for your small business:
- Team morale. Celebrating wins is going to immediately and significantly boost team morale, which should boost long-term productivity. Your employees are going to enjoy whatever you do for them, and they’ll feel good about being a part of your latest accomplishment. Happy employees who feel like they’re an active part of something good are just going to work harder for you.
- If your employees are given a goal without any objective benefit for them individually, they may not be inclined to put extra effort into their daily work. If they know there’s going to be a big celebration if the team achieves its goals, they may want to work harder. It’s a powerful motivation tool, regardless of whether this is your first or hundredth celebration.
- The celebration is also for you. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that entrepreneurship is all about getting to a destination, whether it’s opening a certain number of stores, selling the business, or retiring wealthy. But in reality, it’s all about the journey. Taking the time to celebrate is going to help you realize how far you’ve come, making you more appreciative of the work you’ve already put in. It’s also an enjoyable distraction from what might be just another day of work, helping you stave off the possibility of burnout.
- When everything’s over, when you’ve sold your business, or when you’ve stepped down in favor of a new manager, all you’ll have left of your experience is your money and your memories. Guess which one you’ll probably value more? Taking the time to celebrate will give you more memorable touchstones you can think back to, even decades after you’ve left the business.
Ideas for Celebration
So what can you do to celebrate?
- Hand out cigars. Get some high-quality cigars to hand out after a long day of work. Even employees who don’t smoke may wish to partake in what’s ultimately a social indulgence. Cigars are traditionally celebratory, so it will add a sense of class and honor to the party.
- Take the team out. You could also take the more conventional route, and take the team out for some celebratory reveling. Depending on the size of your team, your budget, the size of the achievement, and your brand culture, this could be any number of things. For example, you might take the team out for a nice lunch, or for drinks after work, or to a paintball showdown over the weekend.
- Throw a party. You could also throw a party for all your employees, with food, drinks, music, and most importantly, team bonding. Of course, if you don’t like the idea of a traditional office party, you could do something more exciting or less formal, such as hosting a barbecue at your house or staging a murder mystery.
- Call a half-day. You don’t necessarily have to do something fancy or spend lots of money to celebrate. Chances are, your employees will be thrilled to get some extra time off. At the end of a week where your team really excelled, you could call Friday a half-day and send everyone home a few hours early. It’s a memorable gesture, and one that doesn’t take much planning (though you probably won’t foster as much team bonding).
- Make an upgrade. Finally, you could take some money and make a significant upgrade for the office. For example, you could invest in new furniture that’s far more comfortable for your employees. In a similar vein, you could add a new employee benefit or perk, such as casual Fridays or flexible hours on certain days of the week.
No Win Too Small
One last note—try not to reserve your celebrations for only the biggest achievements. Reaching a year-end goal, or landing the biggest deal in company history might be cause to throw a party, but even small victories can and should be celebrated; you just have to celebrate them on a smaller scale. Even a positive team meeting with pats on the back and genuine compliments can be enough for your team to see the benefits of a real celebration.