4 Small-Business Things to Be Thankful For

by Courtney S. Dade, CEO and Chief Strategist, CSD Marketing and Consulting, LLC

The holiday season is upon us. It happens every year and yet every year I get caught off guard by it. Halloween is over, Día De Los Muertos celebrations are complete. And then, like a careening roller coaster car, it seems we literally fall into Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanza. Before we sit down to a lush turkey dinner with friends and family, and begin our holiday traditions, I’d like to pause. I have so much to be thankful for. As small business owners, WE have so much to be thankful for.

The editors of put together a really cool slide show, “8 Things Small Businesses Can Be Thankful For” that made me think about what small-business things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. There are 4 things at the top of my list.

The Community

Look around you. You are not alone. You are in a community of visionaries, dreamers, creatives, manufacturers, builders, Shamans, and guardian angels. Rather than feeling threatened or slighted by members of our community, we can stand in solidarity on issues and policies that could help or harm us, stimulate growth, and create new spaces. We can recognize our power in driving innovation and commerce in America.  But more importantly, we can be inspired by one another.

I’m thankful for meeting new entrepreneurs and business owners that are passionate about improving people’s lives. They include nonprofits that want to encourage and enhance the lives and futures of young women, young musicians, and other nonprofit organizations. There are for-profit organizations that want to employ a diverse workforce, provide fun and inclusive entertainment, and create a venue and an experience for up-and-coming culinary stars to shine. I’ve met amazingly creative people, including a fashion designer and author who creates couture magic for all women and champions survivors living with [NAME THE DISEASE]. There are entrepreneurs who create aromatic bath, candles, and body care products that promote wellness and self-care. They advise, encourage, and thrive. Kudos to my community.

© Ivan S. Harris Photography

The Teamwork

Whether we’re solopreneurs or employers of many, team work fuels the engine of our business. If nothing else, my clients are a part of the team. We must be grateful for their support, their loyalty, and their feedback. Their feedback helps us come us with the next “big idea” or the game-changing improvement. Without our customers and clients, there would be no business. So first foremost, thanks to that important team member.

I’m also thankful for my team of hard workers. This year I became a boss. I was always making “boss” moves, but I actually transformed my solopreneur business into an agency with employees and payroll and benefits and employee handbooks. It was a huge step and a big risk during a challenging period in our country,  but I don’t regret it. My team is my family.  We have each other’s backs. We have faith in the mission, in, the journey, and in each other.

Beyond the CSD Marketing team, though, are the vendors and partners who bring their unique products, talents, and skillsets to both ongoing infrastructure and individual projects. They expand our capacity to serve, and they challenge me to accomplish more than I ever dreamed I could.

So, after I discovered my “why” (why do I do what I do), I discovered my “we”. My team. My ride-or-dies. My peeps. And this journey is all the more amazing because of them.

The Flexibility

I remember a time when I was always the junior person on staff when holiday vacation time came around, and I could never get the primo days. All the people with seniority got the week before and after Christmas or the three days leading up to Thanksgiving. When we were little, my mom only got a few hours off on Christmas Eve to get all her shopping done (ALERT: NO INTERNET SHOPPING BACK THEN!). She’d race through the mall and

I’m thankful for having the flexibility to work from anywhere. I’ve taken meetings in the car on the way to my son’s audition. I’ve done serious troubleshooting of issues from the balcony of a hotel in Hawaii. I’ve written marketing plans while taking the overnight shift watching over my ailing grandmother. I’ve developed new service lines when clients needed to pivot, and I pivoted with them to deliver what they needed. And with this flexibility, I am able to homeschool my son and support his journey as a working actor, spokesperson, YouTuber, and model. That’s the biggest blessing of all. Flexible time to spend with family.

The Adventure

Finally, every small business owner has within them the spirit of a true risk-taker. A pioneer or frontiersman. Because, you can have the most solid business plan and model in place, and the only thing that’s guaranteed is that there will be surprises. And not always negative ones. But there’s a bit of adventure in stepping up to the plate when necessary, assessing the situation, selecting a response, and rolling with it. You make the decision and set the pace of change. You can control the narrative.

I’ve learned and experienced so much as a small business owner. There are new discoveries around every corner. And what’s so incredible is that I don’t see a time when that will stop. The clients and customers change, the industries change, the economic environment changes, the workforce demands change, and I don’t that changing. Every success, every failure, every new client, and every business challenge has pushed our team to spaces of learning and growth that we hadn’t anticipated.

Final Thoughts

So, it’s with a sense of anticipation that I approach the end of 2021. I look back and recognize that I am in the company of a fantastic community of self-driven, passionate people. I’m supported by the most awesome team of customers, clients, staff, partners, vendors, and family. I have so much room to maneuver because I set the course and the speed of change. And I’m looking forward to even more adventure in 2022! How about you? What are you thankful for? Share in comments below or send us a direct message on Instagram or Facebook.

Most of all, from CSD Marketing and Consulting….