The great thing about saying "thank you" is that it costs almost nothing—and there's almost always a payoff.

I like to think in terms of a "return on thank you" ratio may be impossible to measure precisely, but it's among the most important metrics to try to understand. It can help you see the financial return gained for giving thanks to the people that make your business run every day. 

How do you place a return-on-investment metric on giving thanks to employees, who work tirelessly to serve clients daily? To the vendors who give you great products and services to help your business run, and who patiently take annoying requests for something faster or cheaper?  And to each and every customer that does business with you—as well as those that provide quiet advocacy in ways you may never really know?

What is the right amount of thank you?

Let's start with the basic point: Thanking the people that help your business doesn't require writing a check. Study after study shows that one of the consistent reasons people stay with companies—whether as an employee or as a customer—is the feeling of being appreciated. Translation: They want to be thanked.

Let's be honest. No spreadsheet will give you a real ROI on making "thank you" a fundamental part of how you do business.

But you can look at other hefty line items in the budget to get a sense of your return. Look at the costs for recruiting great talent. Look at the bills for advertising to find new customers.  Look at the prices you pay your vendors.

Being thankful is good for health and overall spirit—but it's also good for the bottom line of your business.

This holiday, take the time to give thanks to everyone that helps your business. And be sure that the holiday spirit continues throughout the new year.