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True Business Success: Giving More Than Just Thanks

By Dave Hecker

This week, many of our US-based readers celebrated Thanksgiving with their family and friends. Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate and be thankful for what we have, and of course to indulge in the obligatory turkey and stuffing dinner. As web professionals, we certainly have much to be thankful about these days. The roller coaster of the dotcom-boom is far behind us, our industry continues to experience steady growth throughout the world, and the technologies and standards that define our business continue to advance at a rapid pace. Many web developers find themselves in a position to work from home, set their own hours, and make more money then they imagined possible. Things are never easy, but life is good!

As for me, the thing I am most thankful for is that my company was able to make substantial monthly donations to charity throughout 2006. To earn a healthy income is certainly something to be thankful for, but to earn enough to donate money (and services) to those in need is even better! The donations aren’t huge, but something is better than nothing and I intend to increase the amounts as the company grows.

Here on SitePoint, we spend lots of time talking about how to generate sales, revenue and profits. We all want our businesses to grow and succeed, and earning lots of money is part of that goal. However, it’s important not to forget the real objectives as they pertain to our lives, and not just our wallets. Like all of you, I’ve worked hard to establish my career and I’m proud of that. But money alone doesn’t equate to success – there are plenty of rich people who are unfulfilled and miserable as money alone isn’t guaranteed to bring us true success.

I hope that each of you will take time to consider what you really, ultimately want from your businesses besides money. Things like increased time with your family, the ability to be creative in your work, a chance to provide jobs or training for others, to travel, to advance the industry standards, and of course to donate some of your profits to others. Our successful businesses can help our kids, parents, and community. We can help fuel our local economies, and pariticpate in the global economy in a positive way.

The potential to donate is greatly increased when you’re operating as a business. Businesses are generally the largest sponsors of charities like CARE International and the Red Cross. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is distributing 10’s of billions of dollars worth of services around the world. American Airlines donated 60 million dollars to UNICEF this year alone.

Can you imagine being so successful in business that you could comfortably write a check for $50,000 to a charity? What a feeling that must be! As small businesses and professionals, we can make an incredible difference in the world. So, I hope that we can all take a break from our every day money-making efforts and consider what we would really do when we succeed.

In an upcoming post I’ll be providing some thoughts about the various ways we can donate money, time, or services to charity while maintaining healthy growth and profits. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about some of the things you are all thankful for and some of the good things you’d like to do with your riches if when you make it big!

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