“People before profits”
If you want to build a company of substantial value you need to always put “people before profits.” Culture is ultimately what differentiates successful businesses from failures, and you can only build a strong culture by putting your employees first.
In extreme circumstances when the welfare of the company is at jeopardy you make personal sacrifices before you cut into the muscle or bone of your organization. Don’t be a fool when you your company get’s into a jam by slashing payroll or your marketing spend. Ultimately the leadership is responsible for the direction of the company and any trouble it may get itself into, and this is where the sacrifices need to be made. Defer salary or guaranteed payments and put them on the balance sheet, or reevaluate the executive comp structure.
When all of the employees and bills are paid, and long term investments are made, the very little that’s left over goes to the owners. Often that’s nothing. It’s a small return for a large risk but that’s the chance you take and sacrifices you make, but things of substantial value rarely involve little risk.