by Mary Cantando, Founder of The Woman’s Advantage, Guest Contributor

It is tough for you, as a small business, to compete with the huge budgets that major corporations allocate for employee training. But think of your small size as a positive rather than a negative and come up with creative, low-cost ways to grow your employees. Here are a few ideas to consider.

Five Low-Cost Ways to Grow Your Employees

1. Provide a monthly or quarterly business book to each employee.

Then, bring them together at the end of the month or quarter to discuss implementing what they learned into their individual jobs and into the business as a whole.

2. Set up “Efficiency Sessions.”

At these meetings, require each employee to come in with at least one idea to improve efficiency or effectiveness. Be prepared to act on these suggestions. Alternatively, you can ask employees to email one idea a month. The idea is to keep them actively thinking of ways to improve the business.

3. Provide high-level training.

Rather than just training them to complete their jobs, offer them training that will make them more-rounded individuals, such as “success skills.”

4. Involve employees in decisions that affect them.

Underscore the fact that they are an important part of your business.

5.  Offer rewards for ideas.

Encourage them to always be thinking of ways to bring in business or save you money.  You might give the employee a percentage of the profit or savings.