It’s always nice to get a “thank you” from a customer in the form of a personal comment, a note, or feedback on your website. But, as the year ends in a rapid fire holiday season, don’t forget to give thanks for your small business during the last 12 months – to all those who deserve it.

  1. Customers are not always sensitive to the struggles small business owners have endured this year. It’s not their job. It was a year of risk and tough choices on your part. Small businesses continued to build jobs and sustain the economy, but it is often at the cost of stress and tight margins for the owners. Still, you tie customers to your business when you express your personal heartfelt appreciation.  Tell you customers “thanks.”
  2. Employees can take their work for granted. They, too, assess their wants and needs this time of the year. Making them a part of the customer appreciation ties them to customer support.  Make employee appreciation part of your strategic plan. Make sure there is some holiday gifting in your plan – from supermarket gift certificates to bonuses. But, communicate the plan early and frequently. Be genuine in your thanks for employees who make the commitment to your success and serve as your offense and defense.
  3. Vendors express their thanks for your business. But, you need to thank them for being there for you. If time permits, host a lunch for your key vendors; thank them, in front of each other, for specific efforts they made for you. Make your vendors “partners” in your continuing success – say “thanks” for a job well done.
  4. Family, Partners, Angels, and Consultants deserve and appreciate your thanks. Your success is their success. Your stress and tension are shared. You have not operated on your own – even if it seems so at times. You need to pay back and pay forward.  Say “thanks” to loved ones and partners that help make it easier for you to pursue your dream.
  5. God and Country are foundations for your success. Free enterprise lets you make choices, design your future, own your success, and pass it on to your heirs.  Give “thanks” – often…

If time and budget allow, make changes to your business thanksgiving plans now. If you can’t change them, make them part of your strategy for 2013. Recreate or refresh your thanksgiving strategies to make them sincere, personal, focused, and business building. For example, if you give a deep discount now on business orders placed for 2013 Q1 delivery as part of your “thanks” strategy, you begin to influence your 2013 Q1 success as well.

Some businesses will continue to dispense calendars and refrigerator magnets. Be different, more personal, and more focused in your thanks.