February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day in the United States. The unofficial holiday reminds us to celebrate our blessings by going out of our way to do good deeds unexpectedly to both strangers and the people we already know.
As a small business owner, you might’ve never given too much thought about how your company could benefit from Random Acts of Kindness Day.
But it turns out that a few small acts of kindness—on the holiday or really on any other day, for that matter—can have a profoundly positive impact on your team, your customers, and your community.
What is a small act of kindness?
Like the name suggests, a small act of kindness is a minor gesture you do to put a smile on someone’s face or make them feel happy.
We’re not talking about giving a random person $100,000 or anything like that. Think more along the lines of helping an older person cross the street, holding the coffee shop door open for the person who’s pushing a stroller behind you, or complimenting your waiter for going above and beyond and being exceptional at their job.
While there are many small acts of kindness you can do that don’t cost a penny, you might also want to leave that great waiter a large tip or pay to fill up a random person’s gas tank.
How do small acts of kindness impact others?
On top of simply being a nice thing to do, exuding kindness can have a profoundly positive impact on our personal and professional lives.
It improves our health
According to the Mayo Clinic, being kind to other people makes us happier and reduces our own pain and tension. It might even slow down the aging process, too.
When our minds are cluttered with negative emotions, it’s harder for us to think clearly and make the best decisions. Being kind helps us function at a higher psychological level, which enables us to figure out the best way forward in any situation instead of making rash decisions.
Believe it or not, studies have shown that being kind can be more impactful on the giver than the recipient. So, next time you feel like going out of your way to do something nice, don’t hesitate to do it even for selfish reasons.
It makes other people feel generous
Kindness is contagious. In fact, studies have shown that when folks perceive others as being kind to them, they are more likely to return the favor and be kind to other people, and so on.
So, not only will you feel healthier by being kind to other people—you will improve their well-being, too. Instead of being an irate boss adding to their stress, your kindness has the opposite effect, and that effect can ripple across your entire small business.
All of a sudden, all of your employees become kinder overnight, which improves your company culture and impresses every customer that interacts with your team.
It makes you more persuasive as a leader
As a small business owner, you’re tasked with getting your team to see your vision and trust you enough to follow you on the journey.
Kindness helps here, too. When you are warm and friendly with your team, you’re more likely to build rapport and camaraderie—making it that much easier for you to convince your team to follow your lead.
What are some random acts of kindness I can do?
If you’re wondering how to be kind this National Random Acts of Kindness Day, here are three ideas to get you thinking in the right direction.
1. Write your employees handwritten thank-you notes
Your employees are the lifeblood of your small business. How often do you sing their praises for hitting it out of the park day in and day out? In the digital age, a handwritten note is something that makes us stop and think. Spending some time writing brief letters to everyone on your team to convey what they mean to you and your business can go a long way toward bringing some brightness to their lives—brightness that can persist for months and even years.
2. Be more flexible with collecting client payments
Not every company has deep pockets. So, why not help the less fortunate? For example, you might decide to secure a business line of credit, which would enable you to give your cash-strapped clients a few extra weeks to pay their bills. This is exactly what Strider, an online marketing and SEO agency, did to help underserved clients invest in marketing without losing sleep over an invoice they needed to pay.
3. Volunteer to help your local community
Another great way to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day is by enlisting your team to volunteer their time to help support a local cause. For example, you might decide to clean up a park, cook meals for the less fortunate, or have a bake sale and donate the proceeds to a local nonprofit. As an added bonus, such activities double as team-building exercises, which can help you cultivate a stronger team.
When it boils down to it, there are an infinite number of ways to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day. No matter what you decide to do, just remember that there’s no rule preventing you from being kind day in and day out.