Posted tagged ‘small business owners’

Thanksgiving, Gratitude and Your Business

November 21, 2017

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In United States and Canada, Thanksgiving is when we turn our thoughts to gratitude. It marks a time for reflection – when we look at the goals we have accomplished and we express gratitude for each day that we have been able to work in our business.

What better time than Thanksgiving to reflect on the goals you have reached and the ways your success has impacted your family?

The Pilgrims understood that their gratitude extended to everyone who helped them to survive the harsh land they found themselves in. They understood that they depended on the assistance of their neighbor and on the help of the Native Americans who showed them how to survive.  As with the Pilgrims, your thanks should not be limited to what you have accomplished yourself. It is important that you recognize what you have been able to do because there were others in your life  who helped you reach your goals. You have your family, your colleagues and your customers to be grateful for.

Your success is not solely all about the money, although money is an important measure of the success of your business. Rather it is also about what the money (and your business) has enabled you to do in your life; it’s about the impact your business has allowed you to make on your family and your community.

After reflecting on your business success for this year, here are a few things you should do before the year is over to help you move your business forward:

  1. Kick your business into high gear. Around this time many small businesses and entrepreneurs tend to relax. You should do just the opposite. Remember, most Americans are going into shopping mode. Don’t be left out of their good will. Your products and/or services may be just what they are looking for.
  2. If you haven’t already done so, begin work on your strategic or annual business plan. Start by analyzing (and being thankful for) the goals you have reached. Create next year’s goals with the end in mind. Where do you want your business to be at this time next year? Where do you want to be?
  3. Take the time to thank your customers. Send personalized emails or, better yet, send a “handwritten thank you” to those customers who are your “regulars.”
    Kick off the Season with a Holiday Thank You party. Invite your customers and even your potential customers to have a good time.
  4. Run a “giveaway special.” Give a gift to the first five (or the number of your choice) customers who purchase at a certain price point on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday.
  5. Most of all, don’t forget to share your good fortune with others. You and your staff should don your logo t-shirts and volunteer at your favorite charity. This is a great time to get to know the families of your staff or team, as well.

Let’s each give thanks, embrace the feelings of gratitude. Let’s reflect on how far we have come over the year. Let’s be thankful for those who have helped us to get this far and let’s proceed to look forward with continued gratitude. When you approach your business with gratitude and hard work, who can fail?

“Being thankful for all that [we have], we have paved the way for receiving even more…, this is the very essence of Thanksgiving!” Unknown

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Step Away from the Business

May 17, 2017

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It’s vacation time again. Regrettably, it’s a sad truth that many entrepreneurs and business owners are reluctant to take time off. Their hesitancy exists for a variety of reasons including not feeling comfortable releasing the reins to someone else, an inability to unwind, or simply failure to plan for a vacation. But you know that taking the time to step away from your business can have many benefits.

According to a survey conducted in 2015 by Office Depot Small Business Index, 66% of small business owners struggle with taking vacations and when they do, the majority stay connected to their business in some way. Today’s technology – smartphones, tablets and laptops – contribute to continued connectivity. The upside? It can keep you connected with your business. The downside? It can keep you connected to your business. In some ways, it’s good for the small business owner to take advantage of that connectivity as long as they control the dosage.

Still, it’s crucial that the small business owners take vacation and disconnect from the demands of growing and maintaining a viable business. Here are a few of the benefits of taking a vacation:

  • You reduce stress which equals lower blood pressure, improved heart rate, a boost to the immune system.
  • You Improve family relationships – connect with your spouse and kids while you create lasting memories.
  • You experience improved creativity.
  • You add new experiences and break the routine.
  • You meet new people.
  • You gain a new perspective on life and your business.
  • You set an example for your employees so that they will take vacation.

These are compelling reasons to take time away from your business in the form of vacation. Making vacation a part of your yearly planning may be one way to ensure that you will take much needed time away from the day to day of running your business.

If you are still finding it difficult to take time off, here are a few suggestions to make it easier to create a better work/life balance:

  • Make your vacation plans early and complete all the steps to getting you to your destination.
  • Prepare your staff and your customers for your absence.
  • Add your vacation days to an out-of-town conference or business meeting; take the family with you and once the conference or meeting is over, devote time to them.
  • Plan at least a week of exploring the vacation area.
  • Schedule retreat/spa activities to help you unwind.
  • Check in with your designated staff at a designated time and then disconnect from technology.

Your work and your personal life must be balanced. It has been proven that taking regular vacations gives you a healthier, more positive outlook on life. In short, it’s good for you; it’s good for your business.

How do you step away from the business? Do you plan a vacation or do you spontaneously take time away from the business? Which works better for you? Share your insights and experiences.