As a small business, Summit Financial Resources understands that when it comes to business relationships, it’s important to focus less on the word “business” and more on “relationships.” Experience has shown us that it’s often the small, personal gestures that mean the most. Saying “thank you” is one of them.

In business, it’s amazing how far a simple “thank you” can go. Customers spend more, employees accomplish more, and vendors are more likely to pay on time if they’re thanked regularly. Taking a few moments out of your day to thank employees, coworkers, managers, and customers is often key to your company’s success.

A Google search will turn up countless ideas for expressing gratitude in the workplace. We’ve chosen a few favorite tips for developing an ongoing commitment to showing your appreciation and making it count. These practices are not just for Thanksgiving time; you can incorporate them into the way you do business all year long.

1 – Be Specific

It’s important to thank your customers, employees, and vendors, and it’s even more important to make it personal. Clichéd phrases like “Thank you for your business” or “We appreciate your patronage,” are to be avoided if you want to personalize your gratitude. As soon as you say “business,” you have just reminded the person that, despite the rapport you have, they represent nothing more than a transaction. This is likely to backfire, diminishing the relationships you have worked so hard to build.

Focus your gratitude on what the employee or vendor actually did. Rather than saying, “Thanks for your good work,” say something like, “Thanks for staying late to close that deal; your dedication will help the company grow.” Use a similar strategy with vendors, and acknowledge them when they go above and beyond.

When you thank someone, whether in person or in writing, always address them by name. It’s easy enough to use technology to send a personalized version of a mass email. Your customers, clients, and vendors will be far more likely to read a message that begins, “Thank you, Cathy,” than something generic.

2 – Be a Grateful Boss

If you have ever worked for a manager who never uttered a word of thanks, you know that it doesn’t feel good. People value themselves, and they like to know that their boss values them too.

Despite the belief that a paycheck is thanks enough, if you’re an owner or manager, your appreciation is a greater motivator for many employees than money. Thank your staff for the job they’re doing, and let them know you value their dedication. Spending a few moments expressing your gratitude not only boosts a person’s self-esteem, it may also lead to increased productivity, positive attitudes, and improved workplace relationships.

3 – Be Consistent

For some of us, showing gratitude is second nature. But even the most well intentioned business owners can become so consumed with work that they overlook the value of showing how thankful they are.

Make the commitment to express your appreciation whenever the occasion calls for it. Thank customers, colleagues, employees, and peers alike. Especially thank those who thank you. Once you start saying “thank you” with consistency, it is bound to become a habit.

4 – Be Generous

Sometimes words are not enough. Sending a thoughtful and personal thank-you gift can go a long way towards developing meaningful and lasting business relationships.

Give your employees small incentives for going above and beyond, like a gift certificate or a small monetary bonus. Host a customer appreciation event with special discounts and giveaways. If your customers feel that you go out of your way to reward them, they’re more likely to choose you over your less-appreciative competition. If yours is a B2B business, say thanks by sending business to your customers. Look for opportunities to refer them to other clients or link them into your network.

Get the attention of vendors and clients by sending a distinctive or personalized gift. There may be no better way to thank your vendors than by sending more business their way. Add even greater value by hosting a party and inviting your partners, suppliers, accountant, lawyer, and anyone else you do business with. You’ll be giving everyone a chance to network and connect with new clients.

Maybe your time is more valuable than a gift. Schedule a lunch at a customer’s office, order in, then sit and listen. Go out of your way to meet people on the front lines. In the long run, it can help boost your bottom line.

5 – Be Genuine

Whatever “thank-you” method you choose, the key is to be authentic. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. Your customers and employees will know right away if you’re being sincere or not.

Similarly, don’t express gratitude when it’s not deserved. If you start thanking everyone for every little thing, it won’t mean much when it’s actually warranted.

One of the most impactful ways to show gratitude is to send a handwritten thank-you note. Be specific and personal. Taking the extra time is worth it; because this old-school approach is used so rarely, your customers and clients will appreciate and remember the gesture.

As simple as it may seem, showing genuine gratitude, appreciation, and respect in business has never been more important. As Gary Vaynerchuk, author of The Thank You Economy, says, “Only the companies that can figure out how to mind their manners in a very old-fashioned way – and do it authentically – are going to have a prayer of competing.”

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Summit Financial Resources specializes in working capital financing for small to medium-sized businesses that need increased cash flow. We provide working capital financing through invoice factoring, asset-based lending, inventory lending, and equipment financing.