Base pay is just not enough to motivate people to come onto your team and stay with you long, so you need to have something more. Benefits are expected. A good benefits package should be covering 80–100% of extended health and the dental piece should be quite competitive as well. It is completely acceptable for the employee to paying for a portion of the benefits plan. Though the dollar you put in as the organization provides greater value than if you were to just give the employee the cash.
There are also lots of other things that you can do from a non-cash perspective if cash is tight. Those things can also help with culture building incentives. Some examples of those would be; beer Fridays, team off-sites, professional development, and goals training. Competitions within a team can also be motivating for your team. As long as you are using the competition to motivate the right things. If you are wanting to motivate teamwork among employees, then putting in place a competition where each employee has a goal to meet is not a going to create the atmosphere you want. Instead of working as team the employees are going to compete against each other so they meet their goal individually. It would be better to set a team goal so the team has to work together to achieve the goal.
For additional cash or cash equivalents there are some options. Commissions, bonus plans, profit share plans, stock options, tokens, product or product discounts are just a few. You could offer signing bonuses for key roles if you are having a hard time hiring for that role. Profit share plans are great because they aren’t a guarantee and you only have pay them out when the company is doing well. This motivates the employees to work hard to make the company successful. You do have to be careful if you are going to use equity such as stock options. This can be a tricky thing to offer to your employees. If, for whatever reason, your stock value drops, your employees have then lost money. This can upset your employees, decrease motivation and kill your culture.