In the United States, today we celebrate Thanksgiving–a day of reflection and gratitude. Here are just a few of the things a small business owner has to be thankful for this year.

1. Customers

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(Saturday Evening Post)

Peter Drucker, perhaps the most influential business thinker and consultant of the past century, said it best: “There is only one valid definition of a business purpose: to create a customer.” You can have great ideas, great execution and a great team. But you only create a business by creating customers. That your business is alive this Thanksgiving Day is reason to pause and be thankful for the customers who have joined you in making your aspirations a reality.

2. Opportunity

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(Saturday Evening Post)

There is no guarantee for success when running a small business. But those who are the creators and managers of small businesses have one thing in common–the opportunity to dream, to create, to overcome challenge and to try. And often, when met by failure, to try again. Such opportunity has come at a great cost beyond our own investments, however. For those who have fought–and continue to fight–to defend the liberty that makes such opportunity available in the United States, we are also thankful.

3. Independence

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(U.S. Archives)

You may sometimes wonder why you do it–but then, you remember that you’ve been granted the opportunity  to operate your business with your unique vision. It’s harder than you imagined. And you have hundreds, perhaps thousands of bosses called customers, clients, suppliers, banks, etc. But the word independence helps balance the burdens you bear.

4. Passion

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(U.S. Archives)

Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert, suggests in his recent book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, that success doesn’t come from passion; rather, passion is the result of success. While we don’t doubt that Adams is sincere in his belief, we sincerely believe he is wrong. Passion is what smooths out the ups and downs. It provides a North Star when we lose our bearings. Passion enables us to believe when others doubt us. Yes, discipline and process and structure and hard work are all a part of the job. But passion is the energy for which we can be thankful.

5. Families of birth and families of choice

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(Saturday Evening Post)

There is the family of one’s birth. And then, there is the family of one’s choice. As we continue to learn that families all look different, we, too, discover that the relationships we have with those who create the “ecosystem” of our work can often grow into relationships that may be comprised of the families of our birth, or the families of our choice. But they are families for whom we are grateful.

6. The Journey

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(U.S. Archives)

Be thankful for each day. The most successful small business owners are not the ones who have the greatest financial success. They are the ones who find great joy in every step along the way. The most successful small business owners are those who find things to be thankful for each day.

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