Fancy Comma, LLC is honored to publish this post by Anne, owner of Unique Gifter, a site with gift ideas that has been recognized by leading sites such as NerdWallet. Anne has been writing about gift giving and personal finance online since 2012. Read on to learn more about the ways that small business owners can show thanks to the people who support them.
.@UGifter: As a small business owner, it’s important to show thanks to those who have helped you along the way. #smallbiz #entrepreneurshipTweet
Small business owners have to manage a number of challenges. Those challenges can range from finding money to launch their small business, connecting with support during the difficult days that happen when growing a new business, and finding clients.
As each business grows, it’s important for business owners to take time to acknowledge and thank the different people who were part of helping their businesses become sustainable enterprises. Thanking the people who support your business is a huge part of retaining and maintaining customers and people who will advocate and share their love of your business. The teensy tiny small gestures like thank yous are what build a company culture that has raving fans.
It’s important to note that business-related thank yous are different depending on who you’re thanking and your relationship to that person. Fortunately, none of this is difficult to do.
Saying “Thank You” as a Small Business Owner
First, create a system for sharing thanks with the different people who touched your business and helped it grow. The key to creating this system is to keep it simple and easy for you or an assistant to manage. Then, implement it.
Decide if you’re going to give thanks a couple of times a year or during the holiday season. To really stand out, sending out your thanks outside of December has an outsized impact, as they won’t be one of many received during such a busy season. Think about how you’ve felt as a customer or supporter of a business when a business you support shared a gesture expressing their appreciation of your role in their community.
Be careful about how you give thanks. You don’t want to accidentally go broke because you decided to give everyone a cashmere sweater or a vacation to the Bahamas. If you’re gifting an in-kind gift, make sure to do the math on the cost to you in the long run.
How to Give Thanks to Customers
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Most business owners are in a constant search for new clients. But, what many successful businesses will tell you is that retaining your current customers is one of the most important parts of creating a sustainable business.
Think about it, how many times have you returned to Target or Starbucks? And, how much did you spend each time? There are a number of ways that you can thank your customers and here are just a few that are easy to do and that you can begin doing now.
- Create an in-person event: Recently, Starbucks hosted in-person customer “thank you” parties across the United States. Starbucks is a huge company and they could have just focused on their sales. Instead, they created events that showed their customers that they appreciated them.
- Online Bonuses: One of the best things about running a business during the digital age is the relative ease in which businesses can send out incentives to their clients. You can create special discount codes and share them with your customers via email. Then, they can save money on their next purchase. These online bonuses can be structured in a number of different ways. For example, you can create a savings code for a first time customer and knock their socks off when they first connect with you. Or, you could create a savings code related to your business’ anniversary or some other significant date that is relevant to you and your clients.
There are so many opportunities to thank your customers. Just make sure that you take the time to do at least one of them a couple of times a year.
How to Thank Your Staff
It often amazes me when I hear about business owners who fail to acknowledge all of the hard work that their staff does for their company. Just like the saying says, “Happy wife, happy life,” there is truth to be said about keeping your staff happy. Jorge Paulo Lemann, one of the richest men in the world, said it best: “The greatest asset of a company is its people.”
You have to thank your staff. It’s basically a non-negotiable part of business and will help you retain great people longer because they will feel acknowledged, seen, and heard. Fortunately, thanking your staff isn’t hard to do and here are a few ways you can do this effectively.
- Promotions: This feels pretty obvious if your business has been designed with room for professional growth then promote those employees who’ve earned it.
- Unexpected Bonuses: One of my favorite types of business stories are the stories where a company’s staff is gifted unexpected bonuses because their hard work literally paid off for the company. For some staff members, those bonuses can be life changing or arrive during a moment when they really need the money.
- Staff Appreciation Days: These can be a lot of fun. Growing a business can be stressful. Taking staff to an amusement park, catering, or even a masseuse is a nice way to show your staff that you see the work that they’re doing for you.
You can also shout out your amazing staff during company meetings, via the company email. Finally, if financially possible, provide work-related perks that will encourage your staff to stay. Those perks could include: in-house childcare, a fitness room, catering (once a month), bus passes, or something else that makes your staff’s life easier.
How to Thank Your Vendors
I wonder how often vendors are thanked for their support of small businesses. You may be a small business that relies on a certain type of vendor and because that vendor is incredible, you’re able to run your business without worrying about receiving the different goods you need to run your business. Thanking vendors is pretty straightforward.
.@UGifter: Referrals are a great way to thank vendors with whom you work. #smallbizTweet
Send them referrals!
Tell other businesses about the great job that they’re doing and send them more clients. This is the number one way to thank your favorite vendor.
How to Thank Your Unsung Supporters
When someone starts a business, they often run into two different types of conversations with the people in their life. The first conversation is the “Are you crazy? Why don’t you stay at your job?” The second conversation is the “Wow, how can we support you on your entrepreneurial journey?”
Many entrepreneurs will connect with people who support their business and business vision in a number of different ways that may not have anything to do with investing in their business. This type of support could range from taking a moment to listen to you when you’re feeling down to anonymously giving your business a cash infusion because they believe in your idea. Don’t forget about gifts for your mentors, who helped you get to the point where you could even consider your own venture.
I’ve had several supporters help me and it’s always a humbling experience each time. These people have been instrumental to the success of your business, so take the time to thank them. Thanking these individuals can range from taking them to lunch, paying back money that was gifted to you, giving them some stock, or providing a free service for them.
Why Small Businesses Must Give Thanks
At the end of the day, when people support your business either as a customer, staff person, or just a supporter, they are sharing their faith in your vision. It’s not enough to send an impersonal text saying “thanks.” it’s imperative that you spend some time thoughtfully showing what their support means to you.
Giving thanks as a small business owner doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to be done on a regular basis.