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November 23 - thanks

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					Giving Thanks
By Steve Strauss

                                     With the Thanksgiving holiday wrapping up, I am reminded that
                                     small business owners and their employees have much to be
                                     thankful for this year, indeed every year, such as, in no particular
                                     order:

                                     Still being in business: With the economy in the doldrums, with
                                     unemployment still too high, with Europe teetering on the brink of
                                     default, it is no small feat that you still have a business. That
                                     business pays the bills and feeds the family. It may or may not
                                     employ people, but it certainly provides people with goods and
                                     services they need.

You are still standing.

With all of the people who are out of work, with all of the businesses that have shuttered their doors,
we are sincerely thankful that we are still in business. No, it’s not easy – especially now – but I don’t
know any entrepreneur who would trade his gig in for a real (as I used to say to my wife when I looked
for one back in the day) j-j-j-job.

Our customers: Customer loyalty is almost an oxymoron these days, so to those customers who stay
with us year in and year out, thank you, thank you, thank you. If not for you, we would not get to live
the entrepreneurial dream – in all its pain and glory.

Our staff: No one can do it all alone, and as such every small business should be incredibly grateful for
having people around who buy into the plan and help carry it out. Whether it’s a part-time virtual
assistant or a staff of 50, employees make it all possible. We are thankful that you help us so, we are
thankful that we can afford to keep you on, and I bet most of wish we could do more for you.

Our family: By the same token, it is practically impossible for an entrepreneur to create and run a
business without the love and support of his or her family. So to those spouses and children who put up
with our long hours, to our friends who have to hear our crazy schemes, and to our extended clan who
sometimes don’t get it but tolerate it anyway, we say thank you. Your support means more than you
probably know.

Our team: Whether it’s a supplier who extended terms to make things easier this year, or the banker
who said yes, or the colleague who steered a big, new client our way, small business people typically
have an extended network of people for whom they are incredibly thankful and lucky to know. You are
the folks who help us stay in business and to you we owe a debt of gratitude.
This great country: Yes, our politics are broken and the parties are ridiculous. Yes, times are tough. Yes,
our schools and infrastructure need attention, but is there any other place you would rather live and
choose to start and run a business? Nope, me neither.

This is an incredible country, especially for entrepreneurs.

I just heard a stat yesterday that said more foreign-born entrepreneurs still choose to come to America
to start their businesses than any other country. And we all know why:

       We are the land of the free and the home of the brave. That is, we allow people the opportunity
        to take a chance here, and succeed or fail of their own merits. Many countries discourage such
        risk taking, especially by foreigners. We not only encourage entrepreneurial risk-taking, we
        celebrate it.
       We have a great history of entrepreneurship here. We love entrepreneurs. They are our
        modern-day rock stars.
       The American Dream applies to us all, no matter where we began.

Small businesses in the United States are blessed. We have much to be thankful for. I know I do.

Thanks for reading this column and a Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season to you all. You make it
possible.

				
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posted:11/29/2011
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