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Mutual Benefits Giving employees the benefits they want means a healthier bottom line.

By Robert J. McGarvey

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This is the myth: Small businesses cannot afford to offerbenefits, so they don't. Swallow that myth, and your businessmay bolster its bottom line in the short run. But that samepenny-wise philosophy may strangle your business's chance forlong-term prosperity. "There are certain benefits goodemployees feel they must have," says Ray Silverstein, founderof PRO, President's Resource Organization, a Chicago-basedsmall-business advisory network.

"Everyone who interviews for a job today wants to know whatbenefits are offered," adds Henry Moyer, a partner inHirschfeld, Stern, Moyer & Ross, a benefits consulting firm inNew York City. Heading the list of must-have benefits is medicalinsurance, but many job applicants also demand a retirement plan,disability insurance and more. Tell these applicants no benefitsare offered, and, often, top-flight candidates will head for thedoor. "Without benefits," says Robert J. Kaufman, anAtlanta business litigation attorney, "you probably won'tattract good people."

But there's another, shiny side to this coin: Offer theright benefits, and your business may just jump-start itsgrowth--and fast-track companies from Starbucks to Tom's ofMaine know just how much velocity a creative benefits package canadd to a business's growth.

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