The Thankful CEO

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Traditionally, this is a week during which most Americans enjoy gorging on turkey, feasting on football and diving into a smorgasbord of shopping deals. But as the CEO of a small business, it’s also a time for me to reflect on everyone that I’m so grateful for having in my life — not just on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year.


I don’t always show that thanks as well as I could, but today I wanted to be sure share it with everyone who’s supported me along my journey as an entrepreneur.


I’m thankful for Family.


As the Wall Street Journal reported just this week, family is often the biggest victim of entrepreneurship. And I can tell you that juggling a marriage, fatherhood and a balance sheet has been the most challenging job I’ve ever had. Many days I don’t do it very well, and I need only to look at my 5-year-old son (who was just a baby when I founded this company) to understand rapid growth.


I’m thankful for Friends.


It seems the older and busier that I become, the more the quantity of my friendships declines. Thankfully, however, the quality of my existing relationships remains strong because running a business is an incredibly lonely endeavor most days. Friendships are critical to keeping me balanced.


I’m thankful for Community.


As I wrote about in a previous Huffington Post blog, my company needed a lifeline to continue its rapid growth the last 4+ years, and I found it in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Community. That opportunity introduced me to a network of similar business owners, mentors and other resources that are key to my business sustainability.


I’m thankful for Team Members.


AE Marketing Group is a mix of Full-Time, Part-Time and Contract Consultants. We bring the right people with the right experience together to solve our customers unique business and brand challenges. Seeing this collaboration in motion is incredibly gratifying. It teaches me that everyone plays a part, big and small, not just in our customers’ success, but ultimately our own.


I’m thankful for our Customers.


Some of our customers have been with us since we were operating out of a 5×5 walk-in closet, while others outgrew our capabilities. Yet one commonality is that all of them have enabled us to live our vision every day — “Together, we build better brands.”


Today, with Small Business Saturday upon us, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I can’t thank my family, friends, community, team and customers enough. For nearly five years, we have grown together, at times fought together, and all experienced success together.


Thank you again for always pushing me to be a better Brian.

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