In the day-to-day craziness of a workplace, it’s easy to forget to always thank the people that help make our business succeed. But, whether it’s an employee, client, or the copy machine repairman, expressing gratitude shows true character and makes those on the receiving end feel appreciated, respected, and acknowledged. Saying thank you is one of those simple things that has the opportunity to make a tremendous impact on someone’s day, but if left unsaid, also has the potential to ruin it.  If someone has spent any amount of time doing something for you and your business, you should always make it a point to acknowledge it.  Saying thank you, and meaning it, could be the first step in helping you create relationships. Continuing to say thank you can help you grow and maintain them. And to top it all off, showing appreciation can also provide you with an edge over your competitors!  Here are seven ways you can say thank you to those that help you move forward in your business each day:

1.     Tell them in person.  Nothing is better than hearing first-hand how appreciative someone is of you.  When an employee puts together a winning document, or when a client drops by unexpectedly to say hello, a verbal high-five is a great way to show them that you are grateful for everything they do to support and enhance your business. When employees know they’re appreciated, they’re more productive. When clients know you care, it helps build rapport.

 2.     Better yet, tell them in public. The only thing that could probably top number one, would be to publicly recognize those that you appreciate, and who help you succeed each day. Who can honestly say they don’t like being recognized in front of their peers? A monthly staff or client meeting may be the perfect setting to voice your appreciation. Be sure to identify their specific actions that you found admirable and worthy of praise.

3.     Write them a note. A great way to follow up after a business lunch with a client is to send them a thank you note for taking time out of their day to meet with you. A hand-written note is always a nice, thoughtful gesture, but even a quick email will serve the purpose if you’re on the go. Similarly, if you’ve noticed that an employee has been putting a lot of time and effort into a project, remember that a note expressing your appreciation is a no-fail way to boost their morale while showing them that you’re taking notice. Don’t underestimate the power of a quick follow-up email – it could be the key to turning new relationships into opportunities.

4.     Give them a break. Everyone deserves a little downtime, so reward your employees for their hard work with a couple of hours of stress-free relaxation.  Give them a place to kick-back, enjoy a snack and hang-out with their peers.  I recently put an air hockey table in our break room, and it’s provided for some fun mid-day breaks for my staff, allowing them a chance to unwind, and even come up with some interesting and creative new ideas for our clients.  Check in with your clients before they go on a much needed vacation – see if there’s something you can do for them in their absence to keep their mind off of work, and onto recharging their battery.  They’ll really appreciate the offer..  

 5.     Host a Thank You brunch. Inviting your clients to an in-house spread of coffee, bagels, and fruit is a nice and inexpensive way to express your thanks for having their business. This kind of gathering allows for staff and clients to mix and mingle in a fun, jovial atmosphere. To further lighten the mood and get everyone in good spirits, use this opportunity to brag about everyone in attendance by highlighting achievements and milestones.

 6.     Surprise them with a small gift. At the end of each year, we send out a small token of our gratitude to our clients and business partners.  It’s important to us that we take time, even when it’s really busy, to acknowledge the value of our relationships.  While the gifts aren’t expensive, we do put a lot of thought into them and we send them with sincerity.  We know that it matters to those who receive them because they tell us, and it means a lot.  Even an unexpected five dollar gift card to the local coffee shop can help your customer, client or employee to start the day on a brighter note. One small gesture of your gratitude like that can make a big impact on the person receiving it, and remind them why they work with, or for you, in the first place. 

 7.  Recognize them with awards. A monthly award for outstanding performance is a wonderful way to give both clients and employees recognition. Your local paper may  have an award program to recognize businesses for being green, a fun place to work, or even those that have the best cafeteria – nominate your client, and give them some public kudos or their efforts, too.

Always remember that using your manners can go a long way in keeping your employees and clients content. In this day and age, pleasantries are few and far between, so take advantage of every opportunity to thank those that helped your business become what it is today. Rarely do people reach success without the help of others, and continuing to be successful hinges on the ability to stand out amongst the rest. Showing appreciation can turn new relationships into opportunities and in the end, there is no better way to grow a business, or boost performance than by rewarding those that got us here today.