Showing gratitude year round (not just during the holiday season) has major benefits for any business.
By Kristin Marquet
More and more businesses are showing appreciation daily, not just around Thanksgiving, and they’re reaping the benefits. When a business shows gratitude, customers feel valued and employees are more engaged.
Here are 20 entrepreneurs who show gratitude year round and share how it’s changing their lives and businesses for the better.
1). Recognize People for Their Accomplishments
According to Steven Benson, founder and CEO of Badger Maps, his favorite part of Badger’s company culture is to show thanks to employees on a weekly basis. “We have an all-hands meeting once a week, and we finish the meeting by ‘giving props’, which is recognizing people on the team for their accomplishments that week. Anyone on the team can give props to anyone else on the team, which fosters an atmosphere of appreciation and teamwork. For example, someone who noticed another employee doing a great job with a particularly difficult customer, might ‘give props’ to that person and recognize them in front of the group as having done an amazing job. It’s a great way to be thankful and show appreciation as a group for all the accomplishments of the week, and make sure everyone gets recognized for their contributions. This has helped us build a strong team and sense of community. The success of your business depends on your employees and establishing a positive culture where everyone feels appreciated and enjoys coming to work makes a big difference in increases employee satisfaction and happiness.”
2). Gives Others the Incentive(s) to go Above and Beyond
Remi of Brāv Online Conflict Management knows a bit about gratitude. Helping others achieve employment, work from anywhere safe, private, and confidential, all while building peace, has helped get them in front of very important people, including Asia-Pacific mediation conference convener Tom Giglione.
As a result of their gratitude, they’ve been invited to keynote two speeches November 11–13th in Vietnam where many world leaders, including Prime Minister Trudeau and President Trump, will be for various summits including APEC — and who also may present at the Asia-Pacific conference.
3). Helped My Bottom Line
Dr. Justin Wood, Th.d., CJME recalls that “Some years ago, I was put in charge of a restaurant that had little going for it. I was given a small breakfast crew and list of chores a mile long to accomplish before 11am. After a disheartening meeting about shutting down breakfast, I looked deep into my customer service knowledge and realized how customers liked feeling appreciated. Playing on this, I challenged my crew to make every customer feel their gratitude, as without them we would all be looking for new jobs.
By the end of the month, I had doubled last month’s receipts. By the end of the quarter, I was setting records continually. Mediation Week 2017 beginning October 15, elaborates on civility and peaceful resolution. A smile, a thank you, a trip with fresh coffee was all it took to show our gratitude for their visit and how we appreciate their business.”
4). Reduces Conflict; Maintains Civility
Dr. Thornton and colleagues learned in customer service training that people more freely spend money where they feel appreciated.
Whether or not you have the best product or service on the market, people want to feel you appreciate their business. A smile, a thank you, a handshake is all it takes to tell people; “Thank you, I appreciate your business”.
Customer retention or getting customers to return costs you half your initial investment. Simply listening to people and showing gratitude for their business will positively affect your bottom line.
Similarly, Dr. Wood stresses,“I retain a high percentage of customers. This costs me less in marketing and those customers tell others of my services; in turn, gratitude saves me money, while making me money and costing me nothing.”
5). Gratitude and Daily Affirmations Go a Long Way in Business
“I used to stare at my computer…at my email list number, my number of sales that day, my social media posts…with a huge pit in my stomach feeling like such a failure even after having works my buns off,” says Michelle Lewis of VisibilityVixen.com.
“Entrepreneurship is, by far, the hardest I’ve worked in my entire life. So not seeing the results I was desperate for left me in a state of such discouragement. I’m sure many out there can relate! So I decided to change up my perspective. I started putting hourly affirmations in my phone that would ding with phrases like,’I welcome new members into my group every single day’ ‘Every time I take care of myself, my income increases’, positive statements where I was celebrating the victories in advance with gratitude. Maybe I was crazy, but I figured I had nothing else to lose! I literally had only implemented this for 24 hours when my phone dinged that I had made a sale…right when I got out of the bathtub. I was taking care of myself — my income increased. There are more of these victories than I can mention here, but this changed everything in my business. Advanced gratitude is the best perspective you can ever adapt into your life and business!”
6). Moments of Gratitude Spurred Me to Keep Going
“I started my business almost 3 years ago. It wasn’t so much a planned strategy, but rather I was forced to do something, or run out of cash (I ran out of cash anyway).
Starting a business was easy. Staying the course has been one of the hardest things I have ever accomplished. Keeping afloat has been so hard that I have often felt tremendous despair to keep going. Most of my work has been repeat business, but even so, I have experienced many days of emotional turmoil, hard work, and stress. But then, when I take a moment to reflect on the fact that I alone have kept two people plus a dog alive over the last 2 and something years, I realize how blessed I truly am.
I would say that those moments of gratitude have spurred me on to keep going, because it’s in those moments that I am able to see the full and complete truth about the situation. Being grateful gives me the motivation to keep going, and to push on with my business, knowing that victory and stability will come. I have come this far.” — Claire Carradice,
7). Gratitude to Cure Perfectionism
Nina Pfister, Founder & Principal of Mooring Advisory Group states, “Growing up, I always believed that if I followed the perfect, straight and narrow path, I’d ultimately be happy. As I experienced more of life’s messy, unexpected twists and turns, including this unpredictable & amazing journey that is Entrepreneurship, I’ve come to realize that putting my energy into Gratitude versus trying to fix every inevitable imperfection in business has freed me…and fuels the positivity that is required to move a business forward. Gratitude allows me as an Entrepreneur to embrace abundance instead of lacking in times of doubt, and for that, I am thankful.
8). Gratitude Inspires Me to Refocus & Gain Clarity
According to Dr. Jodi Ashbrook, Inspirational Speaker, Author, Founder of The Yoga Movement & Co-Founder of Elevate Higher Ed, “Gratitude allows us to press pause on whatever negative chaos is surrounding us, and take a moment to simply focus on what is working, what is going well, and something as simple as breathing. In between meetings or stressful email marathon responses, I often take 30 seconds to zone in on deep inhales and exhales including affirmations of gratefulness to release stress and recognize how grateful I truly am to be in a position where I have the power to lead and influence others in a positive way. Shifting my perspective on a regular basis to embrace gratitude through my meditation practice in challenging business situations helps me to deflect negativity when I need to find my calm, refocus, and get inspired to visualize the path ahead more clearly, and make pivotal decisions with confidence.
9). Showing Gratitude Wins the Hearts of Customers
Cindy Georghiou, owner and operator of emerging skincare brand, JaquaBathandBody.com believes that a little extra goes a long way — and not just during the holidays.
To show her customers appreciation, she likes to share early promotions and exclusive VIP offers before sharing them publicly. She believes that making customers feel important and valued is the key to building lasting relationships with them.
10). Gratitude Has Grown Significant Business Partnerships
Valerie Sarron, Owner & Operator of VS Photography, states, “When I started my Boudoir photography business, I felt very much alone in my new endeavor. Over time, I worked to build a strong partnership network with other local, creative entrepreneurs, and showed gratitude by maintaining meaningful relationships with each of them, which has led to my own business growth and a strong referral channel for business development. When you take the time to show gratitude to those instrumental partners who fuel your own creativity, it opens the door to innovation that you might not have discovered on your own.”
11) Gratitude Has Formed Long Standing Customers and Referrals to New Ones
Rachel Leone, President and Founder of Leone Marketing Solutions states, “I have always strived to form solid relationships with the individuals that I partner with and really understand their business goals and what they are looking to achieve. It is key to longevity and the overall reputation of Leone Marketing Solutions. There are many folks that they could choose to work with, however, I feel creating the personal relationship and showing gratitude and interest in their success allows for repeat customers as well as referrals to new clients from satisfied ones. It also makes me take a step back and be so thankful of how much I love what I do!”
12) Personal Touch With Every Customer Shows Gratitude
Alexandria Broytman, Owner of EvaDane Jewelry has been conveying acts of gratitude as company value from the start. Since the first order was placed back in 2015, founder Lexie has included a personalized, handwritten note on customer invoices conveying appreciation and thanks for their purchase. The belief every customer counts has been integral. “Personally, I took note of the businesses which took time to write something extra when I made a purchase. It made me feel more connected to a company with a heart”, noted Broytman. When creating her own business, she carried forth the concept of gratitude, hoping to develop personal relationships with her own customers. “I find I have clients that feel comfortable asking questions and making repeat purchases. I do believe acts of gratitude is the source”.
13). How Showing Gratitude in Business Helps All in Parts of Life
Emily Bell, the CEO and founder of EmilyVsBear.com says that, “I think gratitude helps all parts of life. When you can look at the world through a positive and grateful lens, it really does change your reality and how you experience the world. I see the impact all the time in my own life. If I’m in a bad mood, I realize it affects the way I function in and see the world. As soon as you flip the switch and start to look at things positively, the effects can be quite astonishing.”
14). How Gratitude and Meditation Breeds Success
“Gratitude has changed my business and LIFE, and I began the practice before I even had steady clients. I’d start by being grateful for all the bills associated with my business. ‘I’m grateful to pay my web hosting service so I can serve the world.’ Then, each time I’d get a new contact, I’d say out loud how grateful I was for speaking with them. As they turned into clients, I’d meditate on how grateful I was to serve. Now that my client-based business is thriving, I still practice it on off days when a client request or mishap can get riled up. Returning back to that grateful space not only brings more abundance into my life, but keeps me in a happier and more peaceful state of mind all day long. I truly attribute gratitude and mindset work to so much of my businesses’ success.”
— Ashley Hannah, Founder of AshleyHannah.com
15). In a 360-Degree Fashion, Recognize Entrepreneurial and Positive Attitude
“MNI Targeted Media Inc. is proud to shine a spotlight on our outstanding employees. Recognizing achievement is vital to encouraging success and fosters a positive corporate culture of creativity and hard work. Both are critical to the bottom line of our business.
One of our secrets to success is staying nimble and open to constant change — instilling a maverick spirit across the organization. The MNI Targeted Media Maverick Award has been our most coveted recognition for almost 20 years of our more than 50 years in business. Presented annually, the Maverick Award recognizes two employees — one from our remote sales team across the nation and one from our Stamford, CT headquarters — who have demonstrated a consistent, yearlong level of accomplishment. The MNI Mavericks are an elite group who have impacted both our sales goals and our overall go-to-market strategy. The MNI Mavericks have a great deal of pride in our company and their work which translates into happy clients and a thriving business.”
— Rob Reif, President of MNI Targeted Media Inc., a subsidiary of Time Inc.
16). How Practicing Gratitude Helps in the Midst of Challenges
“Becoming an entrepreneur is the best form of self development, especially when I incorporated my gratitude practice into my daily routine.
There are so many ups and downs that come with entrepreneurship that it’s easy to focus on the results you’re not getting or what others are doing. I have found that by focusing on gratitude, I have shifted how I view my business and progress. Instead of viewing challenges as just challenges, I view them as opportunities for growth. I look for what I can be grateful for in the midst of the challenge.
When I do this, it makes it easier for me to move out of the struggle and opens my mind to receiving new ideas or inspiration on how I can solve the problem. This outlook is the reason I am still in business and have grown my business year over year. If I didn’t have my gratitude practice, I probably would have given up a long time ago.
Gratitude really allows me to see what’s possible. And I am so grateful for this practice.”
— Minling Chuang, Founder of BrandFameSchool.com
17). How Gratitude Helped Me Focus on The Important Things
“There are hundreds of perks to entrepreneurship, but here’s the thing that no one likes to talk about.. It’s lonely. There’s nobody to give you an A+, and nobody to say you’ve done a great job. So it can be extraordinarily easy to move from one milestone to the next, always looking for the next project, or the next client to provide that fulfillment.
In 2017, I made the decision that every time I accomplished something small or large I was going to celebrate it! I was going to say out loud ‘Great job, Alyssa’ or ‘I’m proud of you for figuring that out’ or ‘You really killed that client call, let me take you to lunch!’
I now practice every morning and night, I celebrate my wins and the things I’m grateful for in my business and life. I stopped feeling constantly unfulfilled or looking for the next milestone. It helped me realize the things that are important to me, and the things that really don’t matter (ahem, responding to that email in record time). It’s a daily reminder of which direction to move in, and is the guiding force behind being purposefully productive, rather than tackling whatever is thrown in my direction.”
— Alyssa Cole, AlyssaColeman.ca
18). Use Gratitude Specifically in Transformative Mediation
Doyin Ayeni states that “Transformative Mediation [allows] parties…to express themselves so both parties hopefully are able to come to a middle ground. Each side is able to hear the other’s side of the story and come to an agreement which produces a mutual satisfaction with the agreement reached.
The transformative approach brings out a more cooperative form of problem solving to resolve their differences instead of pursuing an adversarial approach.”
19). Get All Parties in Conflict Together
Dr. Thornton and Dr. Smithmyer of Brāv remind us that any and all parties in conflict have to be willing to have some level of curiosity about why the other side feels the way they do and be willing to debate the issues without exploding into factions. Gratitude works if prep time is used to explore issues — from a need to support the opposition’s position. It is a radical approach, but one that forces all parties to learn about the alternate viewpoint.
20). How Being Thankful Shaped One Entrepreneur’s Success
“Before I had adopted the attitude of thankfulness in business, I was not seeing the success I wanted. This negative mindset warped the 5 year plan I had set and I felt as if I was getting nowhere.
I started submersing myself in this culture of affirmations and gratitude. The idea of viewing failure as an opportunity and being gracious for setbacks in business was eye opening. This type of mindset was intriguing and my intuition led me to start making this a daily habit to become more conscious of my thoughts and attitude.
This switch in having a gracious mindset plays a huge role in the success of my business today. The voice of my business has strengthened along with the way I come across on live video. Having a thankful mentality and incorporating this in my morning routine as a business owner has shaped my mindset to be more productive and positive.”
— Haley Burkhead, CEO of marketbeautifully.com
If you’re really looking to strengthen the bonds of your organization, then show gratitude to everyone involved including employees, prospects, customers, suppliers, and vendors. Not only will it improve your well being, your stakeholders will feel valued and appreciated.