Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Saying Thank You!

Running a business is potentially one of the most ill-advised hobbies in the modern world. It will sap your time, energy, money, and has often brought grown men to tears. As much as it can win you friends, the competition can create enemies, and on a daily basis, you are faced with problems ranging from aggravated staff, to problem suppliers, demanding customers, and more. Don’t get me wrong, if the formula is right, the rewards are excellent, but those are, nevertheless, the realities.

If someone held a door open for you, helped you pick up some dropped possessions, let you out at a road junction (or indeed, performed any other act of mundane kindness), manners would (hopefully) cause you to say “thank you”, whether directly or, in the case of driving, waving frantically mouthing “thanks”.
So why then, do we not extend the same gratitude into other aspects of life?

Let’s take the example of this magazine. I know “THE Magazine” team pretty well and, without sounding biased, they’re a good bunch. Every month, they work incredibly hard from editorial, to distribution, ad sales, research, and more, to produce this excellent publication which thousands of people enjoy every month. As with any business, they battle their problems, pouring their time, energy and love into their publications.

Rarely, though, does the reader feel provoked enough to send in a letter or even email saying “good job!” or “thanks for producing this!”. If, however, there is a misprint, or even something a little contentious, I’m sure the letters would come flooding in… (luckily the ed seems pretty tight on catching these issues)

From my own experience in business, some of the moments I have felt proudest are when I (or my team) receive a letter or email saying “good job!”. As silly as it sounds, the thought that someone, out there, was pleased enough to write in and tell you – somehow makes it all worthwhile, and when passed down through the ranks, can motivate a whole team to work harder, feel prouder and, ultimately, be a better business.

As consumers, we are taught to feel so empowered and (in my opinion) arrogant, that it can almost be seen as “unbecoming” to show your appreciation! “you’re doing businesses a favour” advise consumer groups, “without you, the consumer, they would have nothing!”.

Stop, for a minute, and think! Unless a team slaved for weeks, you would not have this magazine. Unless an entrepreneur poured their everything into a venture, you would not have your favourite bar, café, beauty salon and more.

So come on guys, take a moment and say thank you now and again!

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