By Susan Guillory

Think about it: without your customers, you would have no business. So isn’t it time to show a little appreciation to the people who keep your business chugging along? Here are a few reasons why you should love those people.

1. They Make You a Better Entrepreneur

If you’re willing to listen, your customers will give you a precise roadmap to making them happy. Even the angry ones are of value. Customer reviews and feedback will guide you to understand what you’re doing wrong and where you can improve. And of course raving fans are always nice because they validate your efforts.

2. One Sale = Long-Term Potential

If you play your cards right by nurturing relationships with every single customer, a good portion of them will return to buy from you again and again. And since it’s more cost-effective to keep a past customer coming back than to acquire a new one, this means more money in your pocket with less effort.

3. They Shape Your Products

Not sure if you should offer a pink version of your product? Just ask your customers. You can get the lowdown on what they want in your products and share their dream features. It’s up to you what you decide to do with that information. But having access to an opinionated audience who will tell you whether or not they’d buy the prototype you’re working on can save you huge amounts of cash. Involve them in the process before you’ve invested too much to see if it’s even a product they’re interested in.

4. Customers Who Love You Will Market For You

When you have tech-savvy customers who gush about you, it’s good for business. Whether they review you on Yelp positively, tweet about you, or write up your product on their blog, it’s all marketing magic. And it’s even better because it’s coming from someone other than the brand.

5. They Give You Purpose

You want to make a difference in the world with your company, don’t you? When you make happy customers, you are making that difference. Seeing how you positively impacted even just one customer can give you the drive to forge on with your entrepreneurial endeavor.

These are all valid reasons to love your customers. But don’t just love them in private; show your appreciation. Check in on them just to see how they’re doing. Offer exclusive savings offers. Send a thank you card (via snail mail). Send gifts for the holidays. By showing how much you care for your customers, you can strengthen that bond for the long-term.