Every business is a team effort.
Naturally, teamwork between employees and management is essential in any successful business - at least, that's the case if the goal is to maintain business success over an extended period.
But to be truly successful - to truly develop a business's potential consistently, with a view to a long and prosperous future - the customers have to be a part of the team roster.
And those customers need to feel welcome in the team lineup, to feel that they are valued contributors to the business's success.
The business that operates on the basis that its consumers are in the store, or at the salon, or calling the tradesman just to buy a product or a service - just to spend money - isn't properly developing its potential for success.
A truly successful business develops a relationship with its customers.
A truly successful business knows that the key to future success lies in the too-often-forgotten concept of "customer satisfaction," a tenuous commodity that isn't just about having the right widget stocked on your shelves, or cutting hair to the right length, or eventually getting around to fixing a leaky pipe in the basement.
Customer satisfaction goes beyond "doing the job right" and includes making your customer feel good about the job that's been done - so good that he or she will regale friends and acquaintances with your business's pleasant and efficient service.
So good, in fact, that he or she will automatically think of your business when filling out a TIMES Readers' Choice ballot.
Congratulations to all the businesses that have proven their ability to satisfy.