Team Motivation Tips for Small Business Owners

Motivation Tips for a small business

While running a small business, team motivation is a function which has two polar ends.

  1. Team Motivation is easier since the owner is personally aware of the requirements of every team member
  2. At the same time, it is challenging since small firms don’t have the resources of large corporations.

So what is it that small business owners can do to keep their teams motivated? To address this question, we will first briefly understand the time tested model of Maslow’s theory of human motivation. 

Maslow, an American Psychologist, is best known for creating a hierarchy of human needs, that he classified into five sections. Which we will explain as follows;

Maslow's Theory of Human Motivation
Maslow’s Theory of Human Motivation Pyramid
  • Physiological Needs: This category is the most basic need; for example, the need for food to satiate hunger. 
  • Safety Needs: Once the physiological needs are covered, then arises safety needs; personal security, employment, health and housing are examples of such requirements.
  • Love and Belonging: This is the third stage of human needs, where-in after addressing the basics, human desires for a sense of connection, friendship and family.
  • Self Esteem: This and the next stage are on the upper side of the pyramid; in this context, we will define self-esteem as the need for respect, recognition and freedom.
  • Self Actualisation: This is where human personality starts flourishing; at this level, individuals desire to be the most they can be, people seek to achieve their passions. For example, a musician optimises skills while creating music, a chef at the same time while cooking. We want to clarify that this is not limited only to creativity and is valid for other fields of individual interests too.

How may a small business implement this theory in their scheme of things? This act will require some moderate adaptations which we will elaborate as follows:

Food - A physiological need vital for team motivation
Physiological Needs

Physiological Needs:

While recruiting an employee, the employer must understand the cost of subsistence of the prospective employee. Whether the remuneration will cover necessary expenses vis-a-vis the skills offered. This point is a crucial aspect while hiring someone. We need to understand that hunger limits the more widespread thought process of a human being. A hungry person’s eutopia is food all around, not whether he or she will be exceptionally efficient at the workplace. Hence hiring the right fitment at the correct cost and judging that it takes care of the basic requirements is extremely important. 

Helmet - a feeling safety need vital for team motivation
Safety Needs

Safety Needs:

Fulfilment of subsistence-level needs to give rise to safety needs, where-in now employees will look for stability in life. As an employer, one must incorporate the right Human Resources practises, which may include job security, practical training, health care insurance and other relevant measures that create a healthy workplace environment. The end goal is to make employees at home by providing them with a situation that motivates them to contribute to the best of their capabilities.

Happy Team - love and belonging is important for team motivation
Love and Belonging

Love and belonging:

Proper implementation of the previous point will somehow establish a sense of belonging to the workplace. Employers need to nurture this positive emotion into a sense of camaraderie amongst co-workers. A cohesive unit is vital for an organisation of any size, especially small businesses and start-ups to achieve their targets and goals.

Empowered Brain
Self Esteem

Self Esteem:

All team members need to have this belief in them, since this an aspect which provides the confidence to go out in the market and compete. Employers/owners need to respect and recognise the efforts of people working for them, and this is an excellent tool for motivating the workforce. We must add that in addition to respect and recognition, team members must be allowed due freedom to discharge their duties. It is a known fact that relative freedom in the workplace enhances productivity. 

I know who I am
Self Actualisation

Self Actualisation:

For managers in giant corporations, this is not an easily deliverable aspect in their quest for team motivation. However, a small business has its advantages, where-in owners, thanks to the more modest size of their team, can invest time in identifying the life interests of their employees and may assist them in pursuing it. For example, an employee may have a passion for playing chess, where-in the owners may support allowing usage of office computer after work to hone skills by playing online or by any other means that may be of assistance. This act may marginally cost the employers some money; however, it will go miles in employee motivation and retention. Implementing such employee benefit policies will make competition difficult to poach valuable resources even by offering a higher remuneration.

To conclude, we want to add that it is easier to achieve business goals by aligning them in a way that they become standard for every member of the team. Everyone realises that them achieving individual goals depends on meeting the overall target, as the management will not hold back in ploughing the profits back into employee benefits. Naturally, such a thought process will keep the team motivated, focussed and fighting fight and deliver against all the odds.

We understand that human emotions are such it is not possible to cover them in an 890 words article; hence we are sure to have missed out on some aspects. Please feel free to write to us about those at, and we will address them in future blogs. In the meanwhile, thanks for reading this one, we appreciate it.


Posted by Vivek

After working for a Fortune 500, Vivek got his calling and established a start-up in the field of consulting, which he is actively managing till date. An entrepreneur by heart, he couldn’t mentally settle down after achieving success in his venture which has offices in multiple locations, Vivek thought of penning blogs which will reflect on his life experiences, hobbies and interests, and hopes they leave a positive impact on anyone who reads it.

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