This post originally appeared as a guest blogger post on the Austin Startup Blog.
2008 is coming to an abrupt close. This year in business will not soon be forgotten (although many will try). We have seen many ups and downs, and the economy has been rocked on several levels.
As people begin to look toward 2009 most companies and business professionals are focused on the future, but with one week remaining on the calendar now is a great time to reflect on the people who have had the greatest positive impact on you and your business over the past 12 months.
Nobody lives in a vacuum: we all have employees, co-workers, family members, friends, clients, vendors, mentors and others who have impacted us for the better during 2008. In the busy world where we all live and work it is easy to forget to take the time to honor those who have assisted us in the good times and bad.
Sure, you sent a holiday card or an occasional email, but have you made the effort to praise the people in your network who make a difference? I suggest that before you go home on December 31st that you find some unique way to let those people know you appreciate them and what they have done to make your life better.
Select five, seven or ten individuals who stood out the most in helping you in the past year and reach out to them. Do not just send a blind cc’d email to the group, but instead make a personal contact that will specifically let them know how they made a difference in your life this year. Be clear that you want them to know you appreciate their influence on your life, and that you hope you can find ways to be equally helpful to them in 2009.
Sending an email is okay, but a handwritten note or a phone call would be even more meaningful. I am not discrediting emails, but they are the very easiest way to communicate. If you want to stand out, put in the extra effort and make it special (we are only talking about a few notes or calls).
In a tough economy your network matters more than ever. All opportunities come from people, thus if you respect the people who have helped you get this far, you will find they will be there for you again in the future. Everyone enjoys receiving a “thank you” for their efforts.
Have A Great Day.