These days, it seems like everyone is in a rush. It's no surprise-;there are so many things to do, especially as a business owner. But one of the best ways to keep your business thriving is to slow down and show a little gratitude-;gratitude to your employees, to your customers, and to your partners.

The word gratitude seems to have fallen out of use in recent years, but it's such a powerful tool in maintaining and growing relationships that it shouldn't be overlooked. Showing gratitude to others can make them feel better about themselves and their relationship with you. So, take the time to express gratitude:

  • Remind your employees of their value: Taking the time to thank your employees for a job well done is a great way to nurture your relationship with them. They are an integral part of your business and your relationship with them should be a priority. Expressing gratitude to them can also motivate them to work even harder for you. It's a win-win situation because if they thrive, so does your business.
  • Show your appreciation to your customers: Gratitude expressed to your customers can turn a sometimes buyer into a raving fan and advocate. It can create a deeper relationship and encourage them to promote your business to others. The importance of customer experience has been well documented: a Gartner survey found that 89 percent of businesses are soon expected to compete mainly on customer experience. Your product or service may be top notch, but promoting gratitude can distinguish you from other businesses and keep your customers coming back.
  • Validate your vendors and suppliers: Your business wouldn't run without your vendors, suppliers, and network of other supporters. Expressing gratitude to them can enhance your relationship by making them feel like a valued member of the team even if you don't see them every day. And who knows, they could start going above and beyond to help you!

Showing gratitude shouldn't only happen on expected days, such as holidays, birthdays, or celebrations. In fact, it can be even more valuable and impactful when it's spontaneous-;unexpected gratitude is the best kind. It also doesn't have to be expensive or time consuming-;a little bit goes a long way. Consider a hand-written note or a verbal thank you. Or even better if you are able, giving a small token such as a gift card can make big impact.

It may seem like a small thing, but showing gratitude can make a huge difference.