By Rieva Lesonsky
Before you sit down to your Thanksgiving feast today, I wanted to give you some business thoughts to chew on. Like you, my business is never far from my mind (where will the working capital come from, how can I drum up new business, etc.). So, it seems appropriate to list five business lessons you can learn from the Thanksgiving holiday.
- Keep family close. It’s so easy as a small business owner to get caught up in your daily anxieties and responsibilities to forget the people who are always there to support you—your family. On Thanksgiving, as you spend time with people you may not have seen all year, it’s a great reminder to keep connected year round.
- Give back. Around Thanksgiving, the direct mail requests start coming, asking you to support local food banks, or send a contribution so a low-income family can have a Thanksgiving meal. Make a promise to do more than that and give back to the community that helps your small business succeed. Give employees time off to volunteer at their favorite charity, match sponsorships for charity events or volunteer your staff for group charity events. All good deeds will come back to you in the form of more customers—and more sales for your business.
- Think out of the box: When 52 brave settlers invited 50 Native Americans to share a meal in 1621, you have to imagine the fear and risk involved was mind-blowing. But the settlers were thinking out of the box, taking the risk that the move would be good for relationships going forward. What did you do this year to think out of the box, and what risks will you take next year to move your business to the next level?
- Pardon the turkey: Every year since Harry Truman, the president in office has pardoned a turkey from being the Thanksgiving meal. I’m not saying you shouldn’t eat turkey this year, but is there anything in your business you might need to give a reprieve to and move on? It could be a business idea that isn’t working or a “square” employee you’re forever trying to fit in a round hole. The beginning of a new year is always a great time to “release” old methods that aren’t working and forgive others for their limitations. Decide next year to work on new solutions and try new ways of working.
- Be grateful. Of course, today is the holiday to proclaim your gratitude for your business, your customers, your vendors and more. Remember, although the ride hasn’t been easy, you’re still the driver and you should be thankful for everything—the ups and the downs. You really wouldn’t want it any other way.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.