Kind, compassionate, empathetic. These words characterize those who show appreciation and gratitude for others. These words can also describe a small business—particularly one that gives back to its community.
World kindness begins in the community with individuals and small business owners celebrating and promoting kindness. Like seedership’s concept of planting, growing, and sharing seeds of kindness, World Kindness Day starts with those inspired by kindness, grows with participants performing acts of kindness, and continues with them promoting the impacts of their actions.
We celebrate World Kindness Day each year on November 13. Inspired by the World Kindness Movement, the international celebration began more than 20 years ago. The intention is to celebrate the common thread of kindness and encourage good deeds in the community and around the world.
“Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition,” writes World Kindness Movement Secretary-General Stephen Oke. “Nothing is as rewarding as giving back to others,” he adds.
World Kindness Day is an important reminder to simply be kind to one another. It also emphasizes that even small acts of kindness can make an impact. Find out how your small business can show kindness to those in your community on World Kindness Day—and throughout the year.
World Kindness Day is a wonderful opportunity for small business owners to plant seeds of kindness with those most important to the livelihood of their businesses: their employees, customers, business partners and community.
Employees — Recognition and Praise
It’s imperative for small business owners to compliment team members and recognize their contributions to your business.
Drive Research Marketing Coordinator Emily Carroll credits employees with the company’s success—and makes sure they know their value. “It’s important I show appreciation and kindness to my coworkers. Their satisfaction is just as valuable—if not more valuable—than our clients’ satisfaction,” she says.
Emily also writes simple handwritten notes to show kindness to fellow coworkers. “I make them personalized to acknowledge their achievements or why I’m thankful to have them as a colleague,” she explains. For those in a position of leadership, Emily recommends taking your team out for lunch to show appreciation, bond teammates outside of the office, and give them a much-needed break.
There is also value in spending time with employees to learn more about their outside interests. Then, a small act of kindness could be sharing a book about a topic or emailing an employee a link to an article about a topic that interests them.
Customers — Gratitude and Acknowledgement
Giving back to your customers doesn’t have to be costly. There are many ways to show customer appreciation, like sending out “just because” discount codes to thank loyal customers.
INI Sips places a lot of importance on customer appreciation. A personal thank-you note is included in every shipment of coffee. “We get excited every time someone orders from us because it means our coffee is making someone’s morning right and helping them get their day started,” says Co-Founder Davina Ismail. “There are so many options for a customer to shop, we feel grateful when they choose us. We want to make sure everyone feels like they are a unique customer to us,” she adds.
INI Sips regularly uses social media to thank customers and acknowledge small business supporters. And, each time INI Sips delivers donated coffee, Davina posts a photo with the recipients and personally thanks the customers. “Our customers are the ones making the donation possible, so I want to give them the recognition and opportunity to see their good deed completed,” she explains. “A simple thank you truly goes a long way.”
Business Partners — Loyalty and Appreciation
It doesn’t cost anything or take a lot of time to provide a genuine recommendation on someone’s business networking profile, like LinkedIn.
Small business owners can also perform simple acts of kindness with business partners and clients by networking, making introductions and referrals, and forming personal relationships.
Indoor Comfort Heating & Cooling, LLC Owner Tony DeCaprio takes pride in the personal relationships his company has built with vendors and their sales teams. “Being loyal to my vendors has a two-prong advantage. I receive deeper discounts on equipment and they give me great referrals for new customers,” he explains.
In addition, Tony shows his appreciation by sending his vendors lunch every few months. In turn, the vendors acknowledge that recognition. “They always call to say thank you for appreciating their hard work,” he notes.
Community — Kindness and Respect
“As a small business owner, your community is your livelihood,” underscores Keating Agency Insurance Vice President Ryan M. Keating. “As a business that deals with community members every day, treating others how you want to be treated is imperative, especially during these challenging times. Through kindness and treating each person with respect, you in turn are treated with respect and hopefully kindness.”
In terms of community building, Ryan also recommends writing short reviews and sharing positive things from other businesses or community members through social media, even when there is no benefit to your business. “It’s helped us create strong connections within our community,” he says.
Another simple way to show kindness in your community is by donating old supplies or inventory. For example, when COVID-19 restricted students to their homes, IT company We Care Computers collected and refurbished donated computer equipment and provided them to local remote learners.
Perhaps World Kindness Day and some of these tips will plant a seed for your business to engage in opportunities to show kindness—and continue to nurture those seeds year-round. While World Kindness Day is celebrated one day a year, your acts of kindness aren’t limited to just one day. Your business can share and exemplify kindness every day. There is value to performing good deeds and showing how you give back.
Find out how seedership, a small business community storytelling platform, can help you to share the good you do and inspire more.