How much do small business owners actually get paid?

November 2, 2022

Psst, got two minutes? As The Manual plans for 2023, our goal is to create timely and entertaining content that you can actually use. Tall order? Maybe. But we're up for that challenge (way better than Tide Pods). Fill out our quick little survey, and we’ll pick one lucky entry to receive $50 to the Trainual swag shop, which includes access to our flying-off-the-shelves Trainual Tags™.

Hot off the SMB press this week:

  • Building a slamming sales process by following three golden rules.
  • Related: Getting your marketing and sales teams to play nice.
  • Who gets paid last and least in most businesses? (Hint: it’s probably not who you think.)
  • Transferring business knowledge and processes to your team. Like a boss.

But first, here are some headlines that caught our attention this week.


This week's highlight reel

  • That’s quite a range you’ve got there. The word of the day is (say it with us, kids): transparency. Yesterday, New York City began requiring employers to list the salary range on all posted job ads, promotions, and transfer opportunities. Following in Colorado, Connecticut, and California’s footsteps, the law also impacts employers outside of NYC posting for remote jobs.
  • Check, please. It’s official: Elon Musk and Twitter have bound their blood Old Valyria-style. The “Chief Twit” (Elon’s self-appointed title) has made some big moves since the buyout, including plans to start charging for the almighty blue check. We’ll take two.
  • Calling Agents Mulder and Scully. NASA just announced a team of scientists they’ve tasked with studying UFO events. Were those really trick-or-treaters, or…? 
  • PSL over DLS. Daylight savings time ends this Sunday. Don’t forget to turn back your clocks an hour and then tell your friends that arriving to brunch an hour early was exactly what you meant to do.


3 golden rules for building a frictionless sales process

A man holding a laptop.

Wait — do I need a sales process?
Does a bear go number two in the woods? (Just in case it wasn’t clear: Yes.)

Your sales process is the lifeblood of your business. It’s the road map for generating revenue, shows employees how to sell your offerings, and helps guarantee consistent results.

Which begs the question: When was the last time you gave it a thorough review?

Sales processes were on our minds when we sat down with Mikita Mikado, co-founder and CEO of PandaDoc. Why? Because Mikita’s company helps businesses streamline their sales process with automated contracts, forms, and transactional documents. Which makes him pretty darn knowledgeable about the topic.

So, what’s my next move?
Well, Mikita shared some of the hard-earned wisdom he and his co-founder Sergey Barysiuk learned while building the company and its sales process.

  1. Talk with customers to understand their needs. At first, Mikita and Sergey decided not to talk to prospective customers. “We thought we knew what needed to be built and how it needed to be built, and that was just foolish,” Mikita explained. A few months later, the co-founders only had seven sign-ups. (Yikes.) So, Mikita and Sergey changed course and enlisted the help of their customers. They used what they learned to improve the product and support their inbound marketing to capture more attention.

    (Shameless plug: We’re taking Mikita’s advice and want to hear from you! Fill out The Manual feedback survey for a chance to win $50 to the Trainual swag shop!)
  2. Streamline and automate your sales process. For SMBs, this looks like documenting a standard sales process that includes timely follow-ups. You can ask your best sales reps for their follow-up process and adjust your standard operating procedures (SOPs) to include best practices. Or, you can invest in software that automates these pieces.

👉 Read on for Mikita’s third golden rule.


How you should align your marketing and sales teams

Say it with us: Customers crave connection.
When you’re bombarded with subpar ads and countless emails every single day, you gravitate towards brands that make you feel something. And as a business, that means crafting a purposeful customer experience that takes care of their individual needs.

The only way to do that is by bringing your marketing and sales teams together.

Is it really that important?
Failing to align marketing and sales departments actually costs businesses a trillion dollars a year (yes, that’s trillion with a T). And 85% of companies believe that aligning marketing and sales provides the largest opportunity for business improvement.

Okay, so very important. But how can you start?
Try these four tips for aligning your marketing and sales efforts:

  1. Create the right org structure. Who’s in charge of what in the customer lifecycle? When you define everyone’s responsibilities in a role chart, you can create a system of accountability and plug any holes in the customer experience.
  2. Target customer personas. Different parts of your business appeal to different audiences. Create buyer personas to understand their unique needs and preferences better and improve your marketing team’s targeting. Then, share the info with your sales team so they can improve that audience’s sales experience.

👉 Check out the last two tips.


How much do SMB founders actually get paid?

A man throwing money and saying, "Fun coupons."

The answer may (or may not) surprise you.
Actually, half of small business owners have an annual salary of less than $100K — and 26% don’t pay themselves a salary at all.

Yeah, no champagne showers in this house.
A good founder knows that your business needs to use profit as an investment to continuously scale, but sacrificing your own pay to do so isn’t the best move either.

For one, your sacrifice can put you under financial stress, which can negatively affect your mental health and actually impact your business decision-making. Plus, actually paying yourself what you’re worth is important to the long-term health of your business.

So, how much should I take?
You do have to look at your financial situation first — every business is different, and you have to consider things like revenue, taxes, and your business’ organizational structure. That’ll determine how much you can afford to pay yourself.

Also, pay yourself as frequently as any of your employees. According to Trainual CEO Chris Ronzio, you want to gradually increase your monthly pay as your business grows. That way, you can grow from a survival wage to something that’s industry-comparable — saving you from that financial stress. “It’s all about habit building,” shared Chris.


What’s the best way to transfer important business knowledge? 

Liquid pouring through spout from one lightbulb to another.

What is knowledge transferring?
It’s the way your business distributes important information to employees and others involved in business decision-making, processes, or transactions.

How does it help employees?
Knowledge transfer is more than a one-time training; it’s an ongoing effort that makes business need-to-knows easily accessible.

Here are just a few reasons your team needs a knowledge transfer plan: 

  • It saves them time. When you make step-by-step processes easy to find, employees don’t have to waste time hunting down info they need to do their job.
  • It keeps them informed when there’s turnover. When you proactively collect knowledge from employees, you won’t risk losing valuable company knowledge when an experienced employee retires or resigns.
  • It helps them continue to learn. In a 2018 LinkedIn study, 94% of employees said they’d stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. When you give them a resource that helps them learn and grow, you show them that you’re invested in their professional development and help keep them happy.

Where do we start documenting our knowledge?
Since your company is constantly evolving, you’ll want to store your business knowledge in a single source of truth that’s easy to update and access.

🔥 Tip: Share secret sauce info with your employees and broader need-to-knows with freelancers, stakeholders, customers, and other people outside your org with Trainual. Try for free.


This week on Organize Chaos: Monitoring employee productivity and wellness in remote work

Does your team log on remotely, collab over Zoom or Slack, or work flexible schedules? If so, listen up because this episode of Organize Chaos is for you! Every weekday, founder and CEO of Trainual, Chris Ronzio, offers up entrepreneurial and small business leadership advice that covers everything from people to processes to productivity — and how to organize your life around it all.

Banner featuring Dan Pupius.

Last week, Chris met up with Dan Pupius, co-founder and CEO of remote and hybrid collaboration tool Range. Dan’s big passion is maintaining employee connection and wellbeing in the workplace. We know entrepreneurs care about that, too. So give it a listen and learn what to look for to keep your team engaged and how to maintain productivity while prioritizing employee wellness.

Only have 10 minutes to spare? Check out these mini pods:

Organize the chaos
of your small business