How to make rewards work to your business' advantage - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

How to make rewards work to your business' advantage

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How many times have you meant to take advantage of a rebate, but just didn't find the time or make the effort? In your personal life, it might not be a big loss, but as a small business owner, ignoring rebates and rewards programs could be detrimental to you and your business.

One of the best vehicles for earning extra benefits is a business rewards credit card, which can offer everything from cash back to airline miles. Depending on the types of offers available to you through your card, you can find ways to use benefits and rewards creatively.

In business, as sure as money comes in the door, it will go out again too. But by using cash rebate cards, the purchases necessary to running a small business will give you cash back automatically. For example, SimplyCash from American Express OPEN gives you 5 percent cash back on office supply purchases and wireless service, 3 percent on gasoline and 1 percent on all other purchases - with no annual membership fee.

You could pour your cash rebate back into other office necessities, but you can do a lot more with it if you think outside the box. Funneling your cash back earnings toward a holiday party can be a big morale booster for your hard-working employees. It can also be put to good use in buying a great retirement gift for someone who has worked hard for your company over the years.

Or, to inspire a bit of friendly competition, use your cash back to buy a gift or item for which employees can compete. Whether you challenge them to put up higher numbers or find new efficiencies, having an exciting goal to work toward can add some new energy to the office.

Airline miles are a popular reward offered both by credit card companies and airlines themselves. If your company builds up a good stock of miles, consider using them differently than you've done in the past and try something that can pay off in terms of employee growth or satisfaction.

Travel to meet with clients is a good idea, but it's the old standby for using miles. Instead, consider organizing a corporate retreat in which you and your employees can build a stronger team and come away revitalized to take on the next big projects. Alternately, if you know that certain employees want to learn more about a topic or grow within their field, consider sending them to conferences and seminars that will help them achieve their job goals and ultimately help your business.

Using your rewards and rebates to your business' advantage means thinking beyond the most obvious option. A little creative thinking can make your rewards stretch further and benefit your company even more.