Use a Generous Measuring Cup with Employees, Customers and Vendors
By Gary Kauffman
My daughter is the catering manager for a restaurant and recently she delivered an order to a business that totaled $182.34. The business owner said she wanted to tip 20 percent and then proceeded to try to figure it out on a calculator, with the emphasis on “try.” But she couldn’t figure out the numbers and finally wrote in a tip of $30. Then, amazingly, she added the $30 to the $182.34 and came up with $220.00. My daughter corrected the total for her.
The point of the story isn’t that business owners really need to be better at math (although that’s an excellent point) but that generosity matters. The owner could have just as easily left it at $220, which would have been just slightly above the 20 percent ratio (20.65 percent).
Unfortunately, I have witnessed this kind of penny-pinching before. I’ve been a business owner myself, and I understand the need to watch the cash flow – after all, if you get too flippant with money you could start eating into the necessary profit.
But in my experience, it is often the penny-pinchers who are really struggling in business. Often it is because they don’t have a firm handle on what their cash flow is, or have already made other stewardship mistakes, such as not being able to figure out percentages despite using a calculator.
But for Christian business owners, generosity is important. Jesus said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over – will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Of course, being generous with your employees is key to a strong business. This doesn’t mean you have to overpay them. It doesn’t even mean exorbitant bonuses. But small tokens of appreciation mean a lot – a few dollars extra in the paycheck, a Starbucks gift card or a catered meal (just make sure to figure out the proper tip).
Be generous with your customers as well. Do you have a loyal customer who’s been with you for years? Give them a 10 percent discount on their next order, just to show appreciation. If you’re a service business, give them something while they wait – popcorn, bottled water or prepackaged snacks.
And, of course, the service people who make deliveries to your shop should not be forgotten. Is the computer tech upgrading your computers going to be there over lunch hour? Buy him a sandwich and drink. And give the proper tips. (Oh, and if you’re using a gift card, tip on the entire bill. For example, if you have a $20 gift card and the bill is $23, tip on the $23 even if you only laid out $3 of your own. Seems common sense, but believe me, I’ve seen people tip on just the $3.)
If all this generosity is making you squirm and squint at the bottom line, take another look at the quote from Jesus. If it’s his example you’re striving to follow in your business, then generosity should be your norm, not the exception. Remember, the same measuring cup you’re pouring out with will be used to pour back into your business.