Most experts suggest that to truly prosper in your business, you need to enjoy it. If you don’t go to work every day loving what you do, eventually it becomes just a means to a paycheck. And let’s be honest, if you’re only putting in enough effort to eke out a paycheck, that paycheck is going to dwindle to nothing. Then it won’t be any fun at all.

So this year, let’s all rededicate ourselves to enjoying what we do. Let’s bring the fun and merriment back to our workplaces. Take a moment to think about what you truly love about your business, what brings a smile to your face every time you do it. Remember back to the giddy days when you first started and how excited you were to open the doors for the first time or to design that very first product. That joy in your work was overflowing, and it affected everyone you interacted with, from your customers to your employees to the UPS man!

We’ve had enough gloom and doom in the past years, and I honestly think we’ve lost some of the enjoyment in our industry. Staffs have been working long and lean and are getting a little burnt out. Some folks are even questioning whether they should stay in the business or not. This year, bring the light back.

Plan some fun events for your staff, not to promote teamwork or to build your brand, but just to encourage happy employees. Hold silly contests, make a big deal out of staff birthdays or just provide a free lunch once in a while. The teamwork will be a natural result. While you’re at it, have fun with your customers as well. Social media makes this so easy. Encourage people to post crazy pictures of themselves wearing or using a product they bought in your store. Give away small gifts and tokens of appreciation, not just during open houses but at any time. One toy store has a “We caught you smiling” card that it passes out to customers. The card offers a small discount on the customer’s next purchase.

Add some fun to your product mix as well. Next time you go to market, look for an out-of-the-box line that makes you smile—something silly or quirky that your customers will be compelled to pick up and laugh about. Our January DigitalPLUS issue highlighted some whimsical plush products (stuffed internal organs anyone?), or check out the playful mustache products in the February issue’s Trend Watch. And when you’re at the shows, go ahead and get one of those fanciful paper hats from Glory B and wear it proudly.

This year needs to be the year we revel in our industry and enjoy it for the fun business it truly is. Let’s all do it and bring back the joy in our work.