As we fast approach Thanksgiving I want to take a minute to reflect on what I’m most thankful for this year.  If you haven’t already, then I urge you to do the same.  Aside from the obvious family and friends, what, or who, are you most thankful for this year?

I have two answers to that question, and on the surface I know they are going to sound lame and cliche.  But trust me, if you read my explanations, then this article will get you in the right mindset as you start planning for next year.  You have started planning for next year, right? :)

OK, here’s what I’m most thankful for…


1. Who I Get To Work For

I know, I know, it’s the same old cliche.  Who isn’t thankful for their customers and clients?  I mean they are the ones paying the bills right?

Seriously though, I’m extremely thankful that I get to work for some really nice, smart and upbeat people.  Sure, we’ve had our fair share of “difficult” clients, but for the most part I enjoy meeting with and talking with our clients.

Just this past month I had lunch with a client and his girlfriend and it genuinely felt like I was hanging out with friends.  And last week I was on a call sharing some father-daughter war stories with a long-time client I now call my friend.

Why does this matter?  Well, in my experience a lot of businesses will say how much they love their customers, but in reality there is no real relationship.  Or worse,  there are negative feelings toward their customers.

Keep this in mind when you’re putting together your marketing plan for next year.  Who do you truly enjoy working with and how can you further build those relationships?  In every business there are “good” customers and “difficult” customers.  Make sure your marketing campaigns are generating more of the former.


2. Who I Get To Work With

Second on my list is my team.  Again, I know how lame that sounds so bear with me…

I talk to a lot of business owners every week, and one of my favorite questions to ask is, “how was your weekend?” or if it’s late in the week, “any plans for the weekend?”

Can you guess what the most popular answer to those questions is?

The answer is nearly always a chuckle and some remark about how they work 7 days a week.  In other words, their weekend looks no different than a Monday.  Hey, I know how hard it is to run a business, and I too have a never ending to do list.  But I also know that working 7 days a week is about as healthy as eating trans fats.

That answer tells me the business owner doesn’t have a solid team.  I’ve learned over the years that building a successful business is much more about building a team than anything else.

So again, as you’re planning for next year, take some time to think through all the key roles that are required for you to hit your marketing goals.

For example: Do you have enough sales people to follow up with the leads and to hit your target sales quotas?  Can your fulfillment team handle all the new customers?  If not, then get ready for some long work weeks!