The Best Advice for Small Business Owners This Thanksgiving

November 24, 2015

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You don't have to look hard to find the list of grievances small business owners face today. Taxes, health insurance costs, regulations - there is a laundry list of things that frustrates small business owners that the nightly news cycle and political pundits love to flame. I openly share many of those grievances. But, like most business owners, while I carry a list of grievances in one pocket, the other is full of gratitude for the opportunities I'm presented with every day I walk into my office.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I'm faced with a recurring paradox -- genuine excitement at the prospect of me and my team spending time with our families but disappointment at what my P&L is going to show me next week after closing the office for two and a half days while bills continue to come in.

Years ago, I received great advice from a respected mentor who encouraged me in weeks like Thanksgiving to listen to my heart -- not my spreadsheets. I'd be lying if I said it's easy. But what I will say is that it's a skill that takes practice, and I've gotten better at it than I was at the beginning of my career. So let me pass along the best business advice you'll receive this Thanksgiving...

Before the office closes up and you unplug to go enjoy your turkey and loved ones, take some time to reflect as a business owner on what makes life amazing. In the spirit of the holiday, I'd like to offer a few reasons to be thankful that I think we can all agree on.

You walk into work every day with a team who chooses to come work with you and do remarkable things. You have built an extended family with whom you will spend as much (if not more) time than your traditional family. And it's not just client presentations and happy hours that you'll share with these folks, but it's incredible personal milestones -- weddings, funerals and births. That's an amazing gift when you really think about it.

You have a family that supports your lifestyle as a business owner. Whether it's a spouse, children, parents, grandparents or the closest of friends, family support (in even the widest definition) is a fundamental driver of anyone's journey through entrepreneurship. Hug your loved ones harder than ever before this Thanksgiving.

You get to grow relationships and make a difference within your local community. Whether it's the mailman, the paper supply company, or the local coffee shop for your daily caffeine fuel, your business and the dollars you spend are an active participant in the betterment of your surrounding community. Now, more than ever, local communities need help from within.

You get to share in a business ecosystem where you can bypass the impossible. Everyday you go to work, you have a chance to make a difference for your employees, your family, your community and yourself through your business--no matter the annoying tax or regulation that appears. The freedom of possibility is what makes this country great.

So, thank you Thanksgiving. P&L be damned (for this week at least), you continue to give me a much-needed nudge that reminds me just how great life is at my company.

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