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  • Once again, we are approaching the Holiday Season.  I swear, it comes faster with each passing year.  It is interesting; when you are young, time seems to stand still.  You are always waiting for that next big milestone: starting school, becoming a Teenager, starting high school, summer breaks, getting your drivers license, graduating from high school, starting college and finally graduating from College.  At least for me, those where huge milestones I could not wait to get too.  Of course, there was always the excitement of waiting to go on family vacations, Christmas and Birthdays.  Then you become an adult time speeds up a bit.  Then you find your significant other and time moves a little faster.  Then you start your family and it speeds up even more.  Once they start school for your child hold on, because then time really does fly by; and, next thing you know your child is a senior in high school.  Where DID the time go?  Seems my grandparents were right after all.  Do not wish your life away, because it goes by fast enough.  

    This year has been a struggle for me.  My daughter is a senior in high school and has been accepted to college with a full-tuition scholarship.  I am so very proud of her.  I am very close to my daughter and I have been preparing for this year for a long time, but it has been tougher than I could ever imagine.  It is hard to let go, but that is part of life.  It is her life now.  I just need to know I gave her to tools to be the best person she can be and be more successful than I have ever been.  

    This Holiday Season I am extremely thankful for many things.  I am thankful for my daughter, she has made me a better person, man, and father then I ever could have imagined.  She has taught me things and has made me a better person.  I am thankful for having the ability to have my own business.  Where else, but in America, can anyone with a desire, and courage, start their own business?  I am thankful for all I do have.  I don’t have much, but I have more than some. I have a roof over my head, I am in good health, I have a vehicle to get me around, I am not starving.  I am thankful for the people in my life who are supportive of me and pick me up when I am down.  That is really all that matters in life, does it not?

    Society wants us to focus so much on the negative.  Always focusing on the haves and have nots, constantly comparing our self-worth to what we own, what we wear, what drive, how much money we have.  Social media exaggerates all this, with people posting what they are eating where they are traveling or have traveled, etc.  It is exhausting because it causes us to want to keep up with everyone else and then if we cannot, it makes us feel inadequate.  

    During this Holiday Season, and really all year long, stop, slow down and look around.  Smile at someone you don’t know, pay it forward.  I don’t mean while in line at your local coffee shop, although that is fine too.  Pay for someone’s dinner, anonymously.  It does not matter if it is an individual or family, just do it.  Have food catered to a retirement home.  Do something unexpected without expecting anything in return.  That will feel more rewarding then you can ever imagine.

    Be thankful with your business, too.  Remember, if it were not for your customers you would not be in business.  Send out a customized card thanking your clients for their business throughout the year.  I really believe cards are coming back in fashion.  We all receive so many emails that we don’t even look at them anymore.  I know I delete most of the ones I receive.  Sending a personalized card will stand out from the competition.  Have a customer appreciation week, or hand out gift cards one day during the holidays.  Team up with a couple of other complementary businesses that share the same customer base and have a large customer appreciation event.  There are many things any business can do to stand out, as long as it is genuine and it's giving back.  However, do it with sincerity and without expecting anything back. 

    We should be thankful every day of the year, but during the Holidays is when we typically take the time to show our thanks. Marketing is not just about websites, branding, logos, social media.  It is helping you think of ways to reach your customers by making them feel appreciated.  Because when your customers feel like you appreciate and care about them, they will continue to come back and tell others about you.  That is how you will stand out in today’s business landscape!

    I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah and a Happy New Year.  

    Geoff Cummings is President|Founder of On The Level Marketing & Consulting, LLC.  Successfully helping businesses with all their marketing needs by branding their businesses and keeping marketing simple and straightforward.  

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