One Twitter follower couldn’t understand if demand for company products and revenues are increasing. Why isn’t the business passing on increased profits to employees?
Increase Revenues Does Not Guarantee Higher Profits
First, you can’t assume an increase in revenues leads to increased profits. Sometimes an increase in revenues has no effect or a negative effect on profits.
If a business has to discount its goods and services like many are in this tight economic climate, that squeezes gross margin, and profits can turn negative.
Revenues are top line. Profits are the bottom line after all expenses.
They are NOT the same.
Small Businesses Sacrifice More for Employees
Next, even if profits increase, you can’t assume the businesses are not benefiting the employees.
The benefits may not be passed on as increased pay; the business may just be absorbing more of the benefits costs. That’s what I hear is happening from many small business owners.
For example, as healthcare costs rise, these businesses are often absorbing a good deal of increased costs on behalf of the employees.
Benefits like tuition reimbursement programs travel, and other subsidies all cost money.
The employees don’t see it because it doesn’t show up in their paycheck, but the business profits are much lower because of it.
Small Businesses Don’t Always Show A Profit
Let’s remember when a business is showing a profit and generating positive cash flow, management has to save for the slow periods when sales are soft, and expenses are high.
If you really care about your employees, you care more about saving their jobs and creating some predictability about the future.
How many small business owners have sacrificed to make a payroll rather than layoff employees? Every single one I’ve ever met. You can’t take profits for granted.
Small Businesses Have Other Expenses Besides Employees
Last, every small business must use profits and excess cash flow to invest back into the business to update computer systems, facilities, and insurance premiums just to keep its doors open.
Did you know that every three years a business should be prepared to scrap most of its hardware assets and upgrade all of its software assets just to keep running? It’s very expensive.
Employees don’t see this expense, but the profit and loss statement of the business feels them. And all these costs are going up, not down.
Cheer Small Businesses That Are Successful
If a company is generating profits, we need to cheer the people who run them. They’ve accomplished the near impossible.
Remember, profits help fortify the business when the going gets tough (which it always does).
They help to support a stable employee base even in the lean years.
Don’t assume revenues and profits are the same. Don’t assume profits will always be there.
Why Not Mandate All Small Businesses Distribute Profits!
Mandating that businesses distribute all profits to employees is to ensure small enterprises go bankrupt the moment there’s a hiccup in the economy.
Let the market determine the companies that get to survive and thrive. Also, let customers be the final arbiter if a small business is doing a great job and serving them well.
Let management decide how to manage profits and cash flow; otherwise, there is no incentive to accept all the risks involved with running a small business.