When you were a little kid, do you remember how your parents, or a teacher, or someone older and wiser would say, “Don’t forget to say thank you”? You may not have realized it then, but expressing thankfulness was an important life lesson. It didn’t much matter how cute you were as a child, showing respect should have been taught from early on.

Why? Well, the stakes are much higher now. A “thank you” to a referral source can mean the difference between receiving more introductions in the future and receiving none at all. A “thank you” to a trusted advisor for offering much needed advice can mean the difference between profitability and having a cash flow crunch. A “thank you” to a valued employee can…you get the idea.

We’re all incredibly busy these days, but saying thanks should be a priority no matter the circumstance.

Here are some things to consider:

The first part of saying thanks is to actually remember to do it. You must make it as routine as brushing your teeth, and you must do whatever it takes to remember. A note on your bulletin board, a desktop stickie, a daily Siri produced alert – they all work, so just do it!

A thank you doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to send stuff. A phone call or handwritten card can go a long way towards showing appreciation. Place a stack of thank you cards conveniently on the corner of your desk, and when the time is right mail out a thoughtful message via old-fashioned snail mail. (As they say, everyone likes to receive mail as long as it isn’t a bill!) Email can suffice but think of your own inbox bursting at its digital seams; you wouldn’t want a thank you to get filtered to spam or just plain get overlooked.

If you’d like to send a gift, take a moment to consider what they would enjoy receiving at their home or office. Are they into sports? Tickets to a game could be just the thing. Are they foodies? A gift certificate to a trendy new restaurant would make their day. Not certain about their personal interests? An American Express gift check is always well received.

And don’t forget about a gift basket! Okay, I know this might seem like a blatant self-promotion but it really isn’t. Gift baskets are versatile and can be customized to match your brand. It’s a terrific way to say thanks and be visible and branded.

Finally, now that you’ve remembered to say thanks, you should do so in a timely manner. Saying thanks months too late comes across like an afterthought. Be prompt and genuine.

What you choose to send and how you say thank you can set you apart from the rest of the pack. An act so simple, so ingrained, should be a part of your standard operating procedures. It will certainly make your mother or teacher proud!