How Do You Give Thanks?

“Our sales are through the roof!”

It has been a long time since I have heard any one express these sentiments. In fact, over the past few years, I’ve heard the opposite (although it seems to be picking up now!). Revenue is down. Unemployment is up. As you can imagine, writing a business article on “Thankfulness” during the Second Great Depression can be a little challenging. The easy way out would be to write about being thankful for family, friends and good health. I have all of those and am eternally grateful. I could write about how I am thankful that my family was spared the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. I have no room to complain about a few hours without power and a couple of down branches while others are digging through dumpsters to feed their families. Again, too easy. Again, I’m thankful.

I am going to write about how thankful I am to be a small business owner in the United States, specifically Chester County. Before every Chamber of Commerce meeting, the membership recites the Pledge of Allegiance. This is to remind us that the United States is still the best place in the world to do business. Our nation was founded by merchants and planters who desired the freedom to build a thriving existence without sanctions that would prohibit their success. Those merchants and planters also realized that it was their duty to be leaders (elected or not) in their community, a spirit that still exists today and is realized right here in Chester County.

I became self-employed at the age of 23. I have met hundreds of entrepreneurs and am always impressed by their self reliance. I am also always impressed by their sense of community. These are the folks that donate their time, effort and money to improve everyone’s lives. In November, we will celebrate a uniquely American holiday, Thanksgiving. According to Ayn Rand, Thanksgiving is a day started by a productive people to celebrate their success. Our forbearers recognized the value of hard work and success. I am thankful for their example and that their values continue to drive our society to this day.

So how do I give thanks? Sometimes it’s by donating my time, sometimes it’s by making a financial contribution. But more often than not, I like to uniquely express my thankfulness by recognizing someone with something that they enjoy. For example, my friend loves Starbucks Coffee, so to thank her for waking up at 4:00am to drive me to a breast cancer fundraiser, I got her a Starbucks travel mug. To thank my daughter for jumping in to help with a big project at work, I gave her a certificate good for one “cleaning your room” pass.

During this season of thanks and giving, take a moment (as I do) to think of your customers that have stood by you and have allowed your business to still exist in these tough financial times. The way you give thanks can be as simple as a personal phone call, or as elaborate as a custom-made gift. Blue Dog Printing & Design is full of creative ideas to express your thanks, just give us a bark and find out!

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