Do you have a small business owner in your life? Your client, vendor, lender, tenant, or even media contact could be a small business type. And don’t forget friends and relatives.
Buying a gift for small business owners isn’t easy. How do you know what they need or want? Can you guess what they’ll appreciate most?
We did the dirty work for you by researching ten products sure to satisfy the majority of small business owners. Find one that best fits your budget and gifting goals, then watch the smile grow on your recipient’s face.
This solar laptop bag charges your laptop using sunlight. Image: Laptoping.
Many small business owners travel. If the one you have in mind is among them, help ease his travel stress with one of several gifts. Nice luggage tags, a laptop bag with a clear window, or an upgraded rolling bag will please frequent plane travelers. If your recipient drives a lot, try a cell phone mount, Bluetooth headset, or radar detector.
Some of us are short on webcams, portable hard drives, USBs, good speakers, and other office-essential hardware. Knowing exactly what your recipient needs most requires intimacy with his office setting—or a few simple questions. If that’s not an option, try cool new gadgets like a charging mat or, if you have a bigger budget, a Scansnap for the pesky receipts that every small business owner needs to sort.
If it’s hard to nail down exactly what your recipient needs most, try these products:
—Internet stamps. Nothing sucks up time and patience like a trip to the post office. With internet stamps, your giftee can forget about those long lines.
–An online invoicing system like FreshBooks. This will save your small business owner precious time and tedious backup schedules while keeping him organized.
–A subscription to an email marketing system like MailChimp. Custom layouts and response tracking will help your recipient look professional while tracking the success of her marketing campaign.
Promotional Items–Branded for Them
A business owner will be tickled to receive coffee mugs, designer pens, or baseball caps emblazoned with her company’s logo—courtesy of you. Send her something nicer than she might buy for her own company, or something original that she hasn’t thought of. She’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and might be inspired to try new branding ideas herself. Here’s a place to start if you like this idea.
Edibles–Branded by You
Image: CNC Promo
Most holiday revelers love a quality wine, tasty cookies, and other delectable edibles. Find the best product within your budget, then brand it with your company name and logo.
A few ideas:
–Branded coffee or tea.
–A branded wine basket.
–Branded bags of M&Ms.
You can also create your own branded stickers, custom-cut for your product of choice. Ideally, your recipient will associate you with the good times they had eating your treats.
It helps to find out what charity your giftee is most interested in. Call them to find out, or offer them a choice of donations through a multi-donation site like CharityChoice.
Most industries publish trade magazines or subscription websites that deliver essential industry news, updates, and trends. You’ll have to ask your giftee in advance what publications he subscribes to, or if he wants to subscribe to any new ones. Then buy him a year subscription to his publication of choice. Ideally, he’ll think of you gratefully every time his magazine or newsletter comes in the mail.
Most small businesses regularly update pamphlets, flyers, business cards, mailers, and other marketing items. Buy your recipient a gift card to cover the costs of a round of printing. Preload a Fedex Kinkos card at your nearest shop, then gift it, or ask your local printer if they sell gift certificates. If your giftee prefers budget printers like Overnight Prints or Vista Print, tell her you’ll order the prints for her as long as she tells you exactly what she wants.
Every industry has its annual must-reads. If your small business owner has a little catch-up reading to do, send him his industry or profession’s books of choice. If you’re at a loss, check out the New York Times’ current list of business bestsellers. A gift certificate, though less personal, will also do.
Image: Classique Furniture
Is giving office items to businesspeople clichéd? Perhaps, but you can still do it well. Who can resist a fancy business card holder, good-looking bookends, or nifty picture frames? There’s also the good old calendar, which your recipient will especially appreciate if it features images of something she’s passionate about.