Small Business Help: Did You Say Please and Thank You Today?


Dale Carnegie, a salesman in the early 1900s, was so effective at selling that he was routinely begged for the secrets of his success. To Carnegie, however, what made him stand out among his many competitors wasn’t a secret. It was figuring out how to treat people to bring out the best in them. He would eventually quit selling to teach others how to excel at this, and he earned $500 a week (in today’s dollars, that’s over $11K!) teaching others what he figured out.

If you read his very famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People, you’ll realize a lot of what he has to say is simply common sense – however, it’s common sense that is so basic and seemingly inconsequential, most of us completely overlook it. As a business owner, if you were to apply even just a few of his principles when interacting with your employees, you’ll notice a huge change in attitude, which can lead to a huge change in production and sales.

For example, one of Carnegie’s guiding principles is to “give honest and sincere appreciation”. Sure, you show your appreciation by signing the monthly paycheck, but coming to that employee’s desk and saying thank you for a job well done will leave a lasting impression. Employees like to feel noticed, valued and validated; so don’t forget to say “thank you”.

Another principle is “remember a person’s name”. Again, this seems like a small thing, but put yourself in an employee’s shoes. You show up, work for hours, stay late when required and go above and beyond the call of duty on projects. When you greet your boss in the hall your cheery “good morning Mr. X” is returned with “Ah, good morning…” You start to wonder, why are you doing all this hard work for someone that couldn’t even be bothered to learn your name?

Right away you start to notice the boss’ nice car, big office, and expensive clothes. As you tuck yourself away in your cubicle (no window view, of course) you start to muse on how your hard work is enabling their lavish lifestyle. Resentment grows. The next time a big project needs someone to work overtime, you find yourself ducking and weaving among the cubicles, hoping to avoid being detected as you dash for the exit door. Why? Because the person you work so hard for couldn’t even be bothered to remember your name, so why should you put in extra effort?

This ties into another principle, “make the other person feel important”. Your employees are important. If you think they aren’t, try running your company for a couple weeks without them.

It boils down to this: be courteous. Say please and thank you. Learn the names of your subordinates.  Let them know they are appreciated and how important they are to the company. These basic courtesies, so often overlooked, can have a huge return in terms of productivity, loyalty and having a happy, cohesive team.

We know it’s hard to be courteous when you are busy and stressed and as a company owner, you have plenty to be busy and stressed about. AF Accounting will help. We work with small and medium sized entrepreneur-driven companies, taking care of all their accounting needs. From tax preparation to virtual CFO services, having AF Accounting on your side means you have the time to focus on empowering your team.

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