I’m taking a quick break from the usual posts about SEO, keywords and cheap website hosting to talk about something a little different but equally important to business owners – gratitude.

Why gratitude is important

Be happier and less stressed – Gratitude has long been known to contribute to our happiness and well-being. Thankful people tend to have lower levels of stress, are less likely to get angry, and are generally more likeable and generous, giving back in response to the higher perception of receipt they feel. Happy business owners (and businesses with a happy ‘personality’) tend to engender a similar response among their customsers (and making customers feel good should be the number one aim for your marketing team!).

Help you endure – Being grateful can also help you keep going in business. Without it, you can easily get discouraged and lose the motivation to deliver a good service to customers. It will become a chore, instead of the fun liberation from being a wage slave it started out as.

Stay focused on good customer service – And lastly, it will help you maintain a good level of customer service. If you have a sense of gratitude towards your customers you’ll find it a lot easier to see them as people you want to help, instead of an annoying interruption to your day.

Why staying grateful is hard

Staying grateful in business faces the same challenges you’ll probably come across trying to do it in your personal life. So, if you can maintain a thankful attitude at home, you can do it at work too.

The big problem is that we often like to be the problem solver, in our personal lives, but especially in business, where our set of skills are being called on throughout the working day. In fact, sometimes that’s all that’s coming through the front door (or email inbox) – problems, stuff going wrong, isssssssuuues – that can wear you down. I remember working tech support for two years (which is about the average lifespan of a call centre worker) and it takes its toll; you start to develop a very negative view of your product, and your customers.

The reality is that nine times out of 10 (or is that 99?) customers will be coming to us when something’s wrong, or they’ve got a complaint, or they need your help to fix a problem. If everything’s going great, you won’t hear a sound – which makes getting a thank you out of the blue or a nice review on Google (not hinting or anything…) even more special.

So, if you’re struggling to stay grateful in business, here are three suggestion that will help.

1 – Remember all your good customers

It’s not always easy to notice your good customers – they’re understanding, patient, pay their accounts on time – and often they’re the quiet ones, too. Maybe you only seem to hear from the squeaky wheels, the ones who never seem to be happy, who always expect discounts and then don’t pay their invoices. Hopefully, they’re the exception, but it’s easy for them to distort the view you have of ALL your customers, simply because they seem to take up a disproportionate amount of your time.

Aside from thinking of a nice way to pass these sorts of clients off to someone else, what can you do to make sure they don’t sour your view of customers?

One way is to see them in proportion to your total customer base. Three annoying clients among 300 is only 1% – so 99% are good customers. Maybe also keep a record of any notes of appreciation you have received (and make sure you share these with the world on a Google My Business page, and on your website, as another way to remind yourself).

2 – Take time to remember what you love about being a business owner

Running your own business can be hard work, and you might even fondly remember the days when you were stuck in your day job and didn’t have to chase up overdue invoices or worry about where your next job was coming from. But there are a lot of things to love about having your own business – here are a few:

  • You call the shots – Anyone who’s escaped a corporate job where you had to put up with stupid decision-making from the higher-ups knows what I’m talking about.
  • Choose what you do – Don’t like something you’re doing? Change it, do something different, focus on a service you prefer.
  • Choose your hours – This might depend on your line of work but even in retail you make the call – don’t want to work Sundays? You don’t have to!
  • Control the narrative – Every business has a personality (ours is cheap and cheerful, the PaknSave of the website business 🙂 ) and when you’re the owner you get to decide what that personality is; be true to your self, instead of towing a corporate line you don’t believe in.
  • Reward yourself – Had a big week? Won a big contract? You deserve a reward – and because you’re the owner you can make sure you get it. Maybe some new computer equipment, an updated company car or even just a relaxing brunch out.

What do you like about being in business? Make a list, or keep a gratitude journal as some recommend. Just schedule some time to remind yourself about what you love about having your own business, and remember it’s only possible because of your customers.

3 – Turn gratitude into action

Gratitude makes more of an impression when you turn a grateful thought into action (and will make you happier in the process). Grateful action can take many different forms and doesn’t have to involve a lot of work – it could be as simple as sending a thank you message to a customer or writing a blog post about how grateful you are for all your wonderful clients 😉

Here are some suggestions:

  • Reward a customer – Send a deserving customer a surprise gift or voucher
  • Volunteer for a local charity (who might also be one of your customers)
  • Do a “customer of the week” shout-out on Facebook
  • Support your customers with free advice (like starting a blog or posts that talk about feel good topics like gratitude)
  • Do something extra for a client absolutely free
  • Be friendly with all your customers (even the difficult ones!) – Smile!

Gratitude is worth the effort

Being grateful is an attitude and – like most things in life – attitude can make all the difference. While some customers, bad days, and increasing economic pressures can all make it a challenge, it’s worth the effort. You won’t always succeed but make it one of the guiding principles in your business and it will serve you well.

And, for the record, I am personally grateful for all our customers, past and present, who chose PogoStick Web Services. We know there were plenty of other agencies they could have chosen, but they chose us, and for that I thank you. We know some will have chosen us because of our cheap website prices, but we also know that it’s not just being an affordable website company that will make a customer stay, so we hope our helpful, personal service and ongoing efforts to lower the cost of doing business online, means they’ll stay a customer for years to come.

Gracias a todo!

Jason Dodd

The importance of gratitude in business – and 3 ways to do it
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