Two Little Words. And how they can boost your business

Someone sent me a really useful article last week – ‘18 ways to find subjects for your blog.’

Well, over the past year I’d used most of them, but the mood I was in, number 11 was particularly attractive – ‘have a rant.’

So here goes. In fact I’ll have two. You know what makes me really angry? It’s when you do a lot of work for someone – write a proposal, put a lot of effort and research into it, produce something that will really benefit their business – and they don’t even bother to come back to you. Everyone in business will say the same – give me a quick ‘no’ rather than a long, drawn out ‘maybe.’ But silence is even worse than ‘maybe.’ Not getting back to someone isn’t professional, it could be a missed business opportunity and above all, it’s just plain rude. As Captain Hook so aptly put it, ‘bad form, old boy.’

Blimey, that feels better. Now let me have a rant in the opposite direction – if expressing positive sentiments can be called a rant. You know what makes me happy in business – almost above all other things? Someone saying “thank you.” That’s all. Two simple words. It absolutely makes my day. I am – perhaps – a little old to skip down the street, but that’s exactly what I felt like doing a few days ago.

Just to let you know, said the e-mail, I’ve had the accountant in. He says everything is going in absolutely the right direction. Says we’ve made real progress in the past year. I couldn’t have done it without you and my TAB colleagues, so thank you very much. That’s all, just wanted to say thank you.

I cannot tell you how much I appreciated that. Between you and me, I did skip down the street. Just don’t tell my children.

We’re all aware of Maslow’s hierarchy. I can’t remember exactly how it goes but somewhere near the top there’s self-esteem; the need to be appreciated. When someone says ‘thank you’ it fulfils exactly that need. And yet it is so rare – and precisely because it’s so rare, when someone does say ‘thank you’ it creates a disproportionately positive impression.

Let me ask a simple question. With e-mailing and direct messaging via Twitter, how long does it take to say ‘thank you?’ Sixty seconds? Possibly less. That was a great meeting today. Just wanted to say thank you for your input. Really appreciate it and look forward to seeing you soon. Thanks again. Even with my trusty two fingers, that didn’t take long to type.

So apart from the fact that a) you’re a nice person and b) your Mum would be proud of you, why should you go out of your way to say thanks? Because it’s good for business, that’s why.

Here’s a quote from a TAB member. Someone said ‘thank you’ to him…

I’d done some work for a customer, and yes, I suppose I’d gone the extra mile. She sent me some flowers to say ‘thank you.’ I was overwhelmed. I’m an overweight middle-aged bloke with glasses. No woman has ever sent me flowers. In fact the next time a woman sends me flowers they’ll be on top of the box I’m lying in. I repeat, I was overwhelmed. The goodwill that client has with me is immense. Whatever she spent on the flowers she’ll get it back at least twenty times…

I had to stop him there otherwise he’d still be talking. And we’re all someone’s client – we all have suppliers, and people we rely on to keep our business running. Two words – that’s all it takes. And yes, sometimes they can be hard to say for us shy, reserved, stiff-upper-lip Brits. But let’s all give it a try. The world will be a better place and I guarantee your business will benefit.

And thank you for reading the blog.



  1. Mark · May 19, 2011

    Thanks Ed.

  2. Nicky Somers · May 19, 2011

    Another thought provoking blog and one that I wholeheartedly agree with. In addition to being good manners, letting somebody know that you’re not going to go ahead with their proposal saves you both time and you never know, just because you don’t want to take things further right now doesn’t mean that the proposer won’t be a valuable asset to you in the future. Keeping relationships in business open is always a good idea. Oh yes, and thank you for the loan of the projector Ed. 😉

  3. Lorraine Ives · May 24, 2011

    Ah! Made me feel all warm inside – let’s all try to make the world a better place and start appreciating each other. Thanks Ed and all fellow TAB members – you are the ones who are really making a difference out there in the often cruel world of business – anyone else want to join the ‘family’?

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