Building Relationships on a Budget

There are a lot of reasons to feel uncertain about the future right now. Inflation is soaring, interest rates are up, and the dizzying array of news articles and viral posts on LinkedIn about layoffs are downright depressing.   These negative trends can certainly make it hard to get a clear picture of what might lie ahead and even harder to feel positive about it. It’s normal to feel stress in these uncertain times, and trying to create a plan can feel even more daunting.

Your company is probably feeling many of the same stresses. In moments of uncertainty, many organizations are looking to trim any excess, and that may impact your ability to nurture business relationships in the way you might be used to. Just last month, Microsoft asked employees to rein in expenses by restricting spending on travel and company gatherings. These moments require some adjustments, creativity, and intentionality to maintain relationships and share your gratitude. 

Being sure to nurture your relationships and let the people who help you do your job (either as a colleague or a client) know that you appreciate them is vital. Gratitude creates motivating positivity for yourself, while also ensuring that others know you value them. Small investments of gratitude can lead to huge payoffs in the long run and help turn uncertain times into future successes. Below we’ve collected a few easy ways to nurture your relationships that aren’t big expense items but have impactful outcomes - especially when compared to larger budget items that can easily be swapped for more personalized and cost-effective options.

  • From business dinner to power lunch. Let’s say the average client dinner is around $300 when all is said and done. If you’re able to pivot away from two of those dinners per month, you’ll be able to release significant funds to grow relationships. If that money is instead used to empower six sales representatives with $100 per month for client engagement, and the average price per Thnks is around $15, you’ll allow your team to touch on 40 client relationships versus the two dinners. Swapping those expensive dinners for power lunches will still let clients know you care while freeing up some funds.
  • From generic gift baskets to personalized gestures of gratitude. As we approach the end of the year and the holiday season, many companies prepare to send out the same gift basket they’ve been sending clients for the past 10 years. These baskets tend to be expensive, with little differentiation other than the mailing address. This year, cut costs and show clients you care with personalized Thnks instead. For clients with a sweet tooth, send a classic cookie box. For the more adventurous clients, send a round at Topgolf or Stubhub tickets to see their favorite team or musician. By tuning in to your client’s preferences, you can send them meaningful tokens of gratitude while stretching your budget.
  • From in-person events to virtual sessions. If your team is in charge of team-building events, you’ve likely seen your fair share of setbacks in the last few years with adjustments due to COVID spikes, reduced employee retention, and now potential budget cuts. While many of us are itching to bond with coworkers in person again, many teams are remote and spread out across the country. Flying everybody in for a team gathering may not be financially feasible right now, but the bonding in a non-work setting is critical! . Instead, try a virtual team building event, and send them a Thnks for attending at the conclusion. Or send them supplies for a virtual happy hour with a cocktail of their choice. This still allows for personal conversations and team building while letting employees know you appreciate them.
  • From corporate swag to a handwritten letter. When  your team reaches a sales goal or other target, it’s always a good idea to reward them in a meaningful way to celebrate the accomplishment. While a small gift card or corporate swag can be nice at times, a personalized and heartfelt handwritten letter can always go a long way. Especially as employees notice budgets tightening throughout the organization, taking the time to write them a letter of gratitude is a nearly costless way to improve employee retention and let them know their work is appreciated. Make this as specified as possible, and be clear about what it is you’re thanking them for. Meeting goals, increasing revenue, or delivering a final project that didn’t need edits are all great reasons to remind employees how thankful you are for their hard work.

These are just some of the many ways you can show people your appreciation without breaking the bank. At the end of the day, people like to work with people they like, and everyone likes to feel appreciated! 


Thnks can help you build relationships on a budget. Interested in learning more? Sign up for a demo, or click here to learn more about expressing gratitude in business!