NATANLife Security

Are You Suffocating Your Business?

6 Ways to Craft an Irresistible Offer

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Written by Zack Spelz

I’ve had the opportunity to interview, hire, coach and train dozens of people during my time in the low voltage and security business. Working in an executive capacity at small businesses I noticed that it was difficult to attract the really good talent when I was competing against bigger firms. My firm just didn’t have the benefits to attract the A-players. At times we also couldn’t compete on compensation either. I experienced firsthand how difficult it was to not only find great candidates, but then present an enticing offering to them.

This is a typical challenge of small and growing businesses. Growth is not easily achieved without great people and great people are difficult to land. Highlighting this for the small business owner, is the reality that the performance of each team member is critical because their contribution is amplified as every job is critical to the bottom line / earnings.

This makes it true that each hire within a small business has more impact than at a large regional or national company. The earnings at those firms are spread among many people. The success and growth a small business can experience is directly linked to its staff. That’s why hiring the best talent that the business can afford is paramount.

I remember having to overcompensate with salary to make up for what the “big boys” could offer: job security, retirement plan, company vehicle, name recognition, career opportunity, tuition reimbursement, resources, HR department and the all-important health insurance. These benefits cost money and it’s tough to offer everything when you’re growing and need to control costs. Having to make up the difference in the compensation department can be a burden on the cash flow that some businesses can’t afford.

After years of experimenting, I found a formula of success. It included a combination of the benefits we found to be most important to employees AND some non-tangible practices. The non-tangibles were easy to implement and inexpensive. Employees want to be paid a fair wage for their contribution, but almost as important is their sense that their efforts are helping the company advance. The key is getting them to see themselves as intrapreneurs, working as though it’s their business. That means having them take pride and ownership because they know their work is mission important coupled with leadership believing this too.

This is accomplished with a vision of that culture and commitment by ownership to live that vision. There is a plan to creating this kind of culture and one of the main elements a the career navigator. This is the employee’s roadmap for growth and your tool to cement them, so they don’t go chasing the competition’s dollar pay raise.

Another low-cost element sharing the vision for the company. Having consistent quarterly meetings where the owner acknowledges the team’s performance and shares the goals for the coming quarter has a psychological effect that’s more powerful than an expensive year-end holiday party. The reason this simple action, done 4 times a year, works is because of our primary desire to be led. We all want to feel like the guy or girl at the helm has a plan and we’re incorporated in it.

But, let me warn you that if you just holding another meeting and don’t live your vision, it will be a waste of time and have a negative effect on your team. I invested in a business coach who taught me how to get Real with what I wanted. Then create a Relevant plan that leads to new Results. Quarter over quarter I watched as progress happened. There was an acceleration of wins because everyone understood and shared the Mission. The culture was infectious and recruiters took notice. They wanted candidates to get placed with us and would coach them on how workplace satisfaction can be worth more than a couple thousand more in salary.

The big guys may have a list of benefits, but what they can’t do is meet their employees right where it counts – local and at the heart.

For more information on how to create culture that helps you attract & retain great talent, contact Zack Spelz at

culture building - that doesn't cost anything

Written by Zack Spelz

I was shocked. I was at the front of our conference room with 20 or so of my team members listening to many of them ask for help one-on-one. How could this be? Our employees in their 50’s and 60’s were nearing the end of their working careers and hadn’t planned for retirement!

I had invited a professional in to educate our team on financial protection as a value-added benefit from the company. But when I heard so many hadn’t started their investing I was floored. These folks had spent the majority of their wealth accumulating years putting money into savings accounts but hadn’t done any investing. They had worked faithfully to buy a house and raise a family, but they hadn’t considered their financial future. Now, looking at retirement in 5 or 10 years it was hitting them that they needed to start planning.

Unfortunately, what they didn’t know yet was retirement would either be farther off for them than they anticipated, or they would have to make some big concessions on lifestyle. I sat there already knowing the disappointment they would experience when the financial professional would have their one-on-one planning meeting with each of them. My heart sank before theirs could. How in the world did I know to start investing from an early age and these friends miss it?

When I began my professional career with ADT Security as a small business sales representative, I immediately began contributing to the company’s 401K program. It included a match, and I took advantage of the free money the match offered. By the time I left ADT 10 years later the balance was well into the six-figures. That company 401K benefit got me curious about investing and eventually lead me to into real estate and private equity investments.

So, what was the difference between my friends at work and me? College hadn’t taught me anything about investing, planning or retirement. My parents didn’t have investments either; partly because my dad had a great pension, health insurance and other benefits from the Dept. of the Navy. Then it hit me: the 1st place I worked for out of college had an investment plan and I took advantage of it. This set me on a course of accumulating for retirement and because there was a program that was promoted and offered an incentive, I participated. As I saw my wealth grow so did my interest in the subject.

Back in that room, I realized that those early career events had awakened me and changed my retirement picture. For the young and old on my team this education session awakened them too. We did a good thing that day and it didn’t cost our small business anything but time. Equally satisfying, is that we felt gratitude from the team, even the older team members. They felt like we had shared “secret” insights that were reserved for wealthy people. They saw that we cared for them and their families, even though there wouldn’t be a company-sponsored plan or contribution. The unexpected effect of helping people understand why planning for their financial future is important, was positive growth in our company’s culture. They protected themselves and the company became a better place to work – a win all the way around.

To have the Natan Life team speak to your office reach out to Zack Spelz.