Tired of waiting for the Federal Government to stimulate the economy? One Alabama business owner took matters into his own hands, creating his own private stimulus program that provides an interesting model for other business owners to consider.
Recently (3/6) I heard his story on Fox News that I want to share with you. The owner of a pharmacy employing about 27 people in a small town in Alabama reflected on the fact that his pharmacy was doing very well, and concluded that he wanted to do something to help others. After developing his plan, he called a meeting of all his employees for the next day. He did not tell them beforehand why he wanted to meet with them.
The employees had to wait a day to hear what was so important that it required a meeting of all employees. Was the company in trouble, some wondered. Other’s worried, Will I be without a job, or have my hours cut? After all, what with the bad economic news they were hearing every day on the TV and radio, it might just be possible.
Once the employees had assembled, the owner explained that his pharmacy was doing just fine, and in fact, he had a surprise for them. He had decided, what with the tough times, that he wanted to give each full-time employee $600 and each part-time employee $300. No strings attached.
Well, actually there were a couple of strings: First, he wanted them to spend the money in the local town within a short time (a few weeks as I recall), which he said would help the other local businesses who were hurting. Also, he asked them each to give 15% of the money to local charities.
Employees were in shock. Jaws dropped. Some became teary. “This is too good to be true!” some thought.
(Funny how rarely we hear anyone say, “This is too bad to be true?).
And, to make it even more interesting, he gave the money in the form of two dollar bills. Thus it was easy to see the impact of his generosity as the two dollar bills began showing up in local retail stores over the next few days, and even in the pharmacy itself. It was the talk of the town.
How fascinating that this business owner, rather than hording his profits, chose to circulate them in the community. (A bold, courageous move while much of the rest of society has stopped spending.) The employees win. The local merchants win. The owner wins – in a way that must be far more gratifying than just writing a check to some remote charity. And just think of the employee morale and commitment when an owner does something like that. Think of the pride people have in the company that they work for. Think of how it also affects consumer behavior.
In what ways, if you’re a business owner or an executive, can you take extraordinary steps in these difficult times to go beyond the traditional business model to inspire people and make a difference – and even help your business in the process?
I’m sorry that I can’t tell you the man’s name or the name of his business. I haven’t found it on line yet. (If you have read about it and have a link, please let us know.)