Sometimes it’s difficult to make time in your day for the essentials—managing your staff, monitoring the health of your business and making sure it’s secure. On top of all of that, you’re trying to stay healthy and happy yourself, so it can be even more difficult to make time for something that’s not always foremost in your mind: gratitude. What are you thankful for? What makes it all worth it? Who or what makes it possible for you to do what you love?
Reflecting on what you’re grateful for is important, and not just around this time of year. Expressing gratitude is a social emotion; it fosters empathy and helps cultivate community. Additionally, there are quite a few scientifically-proven benefits to being thankful, including improved psychological health and opportunities for new relationships. It’s even been shown that giving thanks can make you happier.
So this holiday season, along with practicing your day-to-day tasks, try to set aside some time for practicing gratitude. Here are some questions to help you get started:
What are you thankful for?
Maybe you’ve taken some strides this year—opened a second location, made a number of impressive new hires, or hit a monthly profit goal. Or maybe your business is finally starting to get repeat customers, which is no small feat, and according to a 2014 study, the most important milestone for small business owners. Maybe you’re thankful for what owning a business allows you to do—for the autonomy, flexibility and control that it gives you. Perhaps it allows you to help people get pumped up and inspired, relax and unwind or just feel good about themselves every single day. Being thankful is like throwing a stone into a lake: It starts with one ripple of gratitude, and more appear, allowing you to realize how much you really have to be thankful for.
Who do you want to thank?
Running a business is tough, but without your staff, it would be pretty much impossible. Are there certain staff members who’ve done an exceptional job this year, or do you want to thank them all? What about your community? Who has contributed to your success as a local business? As for your clients, you’re probably thankful for each and every one of them, but there might be some that deserve extra thanks. To single out clients who’ve returned to your business, for example, you can use the Retention report to show you which ones are coming back. Or, use the Big Spenders report to find the clients that are spending the most on your products and services. Don’t worry if you’ve come up with a lot of people you want to thank; it just means you’ve got a great community around you, and there are plenty of ways to thank everyone who’s joined you on your journey.
How will you thank them?
Showing your appreciation doesn’t have to break the bank. For your staff, simply writing an email about an employee to the rest of the company can be meaningful. Take a moment to acknowledge a staff member in a meeting, or surprise them by brightening up their workspace. If you do have extra room in your budget, offer a lunchtime yoga class, cater a brunch or a wine tasting, or donate to a charity of their choice. Get creative with thanking your clients as well. Try going old school with handwritten thank-you notes, or give away some cool company swag. Even a social media shout-out can really make a client feel loved. Another idea is holding an in-studio event after hours for those clients you want to thank the most, or creating an event for the community. For an ongoing thank-you program, the Client Rewards feature lets you give points to your clients for booking services online, buying something, or referring others to your business.
This holiday season, practice gratitude and cultivate community—it will do good and feel good, and that’s something to celebrate.