Small business owners know the value of reflection. Self-awareness is critical to success, and taking an honest look at our goals, achievements, setbacks and challenges can help prepare us for what lies ahead. Even more important, though, is the need for gratitude.
It’s easy to lose focus on how good you have it when you’re up to your ears in schedule changes, ringing phones and frustrated customers. Still, even on the worst of days as a small business owner, there is a lot for which to be grateful.
Small business owners are masters of their own domain. With no supervisor above you demanding you come into the office or store at a particular time, you’re not beholden to anyone’s expectations. While many business owners need to put in a lot of initial work upfront, as things settle into a routine, your schedule becomes your own. There’s nothing better than making a grocery store run at 10 AM on a Thursday!
Imagine how different the world – and your business – might be without modern technology. Tabulating the day’s take without a cash register or even a calculator would be so much more work. Sending messages to your staff would require more word of mouth communication. Even marketing your services to the public would become more challenging without modern tech. We take for granted how easy a smartphone or email makes our lives, especially at work.
Birds of a feather flock together, and small business owners have the opportunity to surround themselves with only the best and brightest of employees. While good hiring should be commended, it’s also important to show thanks to the people who keep your business afloat day after day. Whether you give out holiday bonuses or simply tell folks how much you appreciate their hard work, it’s the perfect time of year to show your thanks.
For most small businesses, community is everything. In an increasingly globalized society, you’re no longer just competing with other local businesses. Instead, consumers must pick between your offerings and online options that are often cheaper and delivered directly to their home. Our communities help lift up small businesses by buying local. Whether you’ve benefited from a block party, neighborhood support, or even some increased foot traffic, you’ve got something for which to be grateful.
Small Business Saturday
Speaking of community, Small Business Saturday is another great way our communities help to lift up local entrepreneurs. The Saturday following Thanksgiving (and Black Friday) has been marketed in recent years as a chance to buy local goods and services. In a rush to cross items off of Christmas wish lists, we often forget to visit the businesses in our own neighborhoods in favor of big box stores instead. The antithesis of the Black Friday madness, Small Business Saturday is your chance to show off your personality and your goods while getting the edge on chain stores – even if it’s just for one day.
The Thrill of New Ideas
When you work for yourself, the opportunities to implement new ideas are endless. Even after the initial excitement of starting your own business wears off, the creative freedom to try new things never truly goes away. That kind of freedom and longevity will pay off, especially in the dreary slow months.
If you’re a new small business owner, you’re likely asking yourself “what downtime?” While starting up a company can indeed be time-consuming at first, the luxury of being able to take time off whenever you’d like is one of the greatest parts of entrepreneurship. With a trusty team of employees covering you in your absence, you can take the time you need to enjoy a vacation, visit loved ones and even just sleep in a little later than you might normally. Not many folks have such opportunities!
Most entrepreneurs don’t start off making much money. When they find success, though, it’s often life-changing. Such financial wins can set a person up for early retirement. At the very least, with your finger on the pulse of both your professional and personal finances, the decision to retire rests entirely on your shoulders.
There’s no limit to the gratitude we should feel for our most loyal customers. You know the ones; they’re the folks who show up for every important event, turn to you for personal help and suggestions, and recommend you to all their friends and family. The word-of-mouth marketing these folks contribute is enough to be grateful for alone, but when you tally up how much they’ve spent year and year, it’s even more staggering.
Professional, Personal Success
When you own your own business, your personal and professional successes are one and the same. Consider all you have accomplished over the last year and reflect on how these accomplishments have positively impacted your life. While it’s important to pat yourself on the back for working hard and meeting your goals, it’s equally as important to acknowledge the opportunities themselves. Not everyone has the capital, support or luck that contribute to success in business.
Bonus: A Virtual Receptionist
More and more business owners have taken the plunge and partnered with a virtual receptionist service to handle their phone calls. By untethering themselves from the phone, they’ve been able to be more productive during the day and more relaxed after hours knowing their callers are being taken care of by a professional representative. If you want one more thing to be thankful for as a small business owner, make it a live receptionist who is dedicated to your success.
No matter what you feel most grateful for, every small business owner can use this list as a starting point. Some believe that gratitude and happiness are linked. Share your thanks with the people who have helped to boost you and your company up this year and you’ll see your own happiness and appreciation multiply.