( taken from an article by Bryce Sanders, Contributing Writer for the Business Journals)
“Business as usual” isn’t an expression you’ve used a lot this year.
People in business often give small gifts to business associates and clients during the holidays. They aren’t lavish for obvious legal reasons. These nominal gifts say: “I value our relationship.”
But this year is different. Some states are bringing back lockdown restrictions. What are some good gift ideas?
1.A 2021 calendar. Many people have been saying: “I’ll be glad when 2020 is over.” You see this from an optimistic viewpoint. 2021 is a new year, one that is filled with promise.
2. N-95 grade masks. The designation has been considered the industry standard. Initially, the supply disappeared as distribution was prioritized for hospitals and emergency workers. Then masks became available in abundance. They looked OK, but many didn’t have the N-95 designation. You should probably be able to find them now. A box of masks would be a thoughtful gift. They will get used.
3. Hand sanitizer. Giving PPE might sound like a corny gift. The authorities in the United Kingdom came up with the expression “Hands, face and space.” These rules will be with us for a while. Yes, you see hand sanitizer available in huge pump jugs, as hot dog carts use for mustard. Your business friend will need small bottles for their cars, purses and scattered around the house. Buy them a box of a dozen small bottles. They will get used
4.Their favorite author. Cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco stopped indoor dining in mid-November. New York City instituted a curfew. Your friend or client will have time on their hands. Many novelists have gotten into the habit of releasing their latest book during the December holiday season If your client has a favorite author, get them the latest book now.
5.Buy a meal kit. It’s getting cold. Restaurants may face significant restrictions on indoor dining. Many companies provide services for “meals in a box.” All the raw materials are there, you prepare the meal yourself. You might not be taking your client out to lunch, but they can enjoy a meal at your expense.
6.A restaurant gift card. You have a favorite restaurant. They have one. Buying gift certificates or cards directly from the restaurant eliminates the middleman. You are supporting a local business. That’s a great message to convey. The restaurant likely offers takeout or delivery. Your client can enjoy a meal on you.
7.Celebrity cookbook. These come out around December. It’s ideal for the home chef who doesn’t do takeout because they can prepare much better meals at home.
8. Yeast. Many people discovered baking during the spring lockdown. Yeast literally disappeared from the shelves. I’ve only seen it back in the last few weeks. Packets of yeast would be the idea of “stocking stuffer” for the home baker.
9 . Public television membership. This is good on lots of levels. Most people have a very positive opinion about their PBS station. They often have their own version of a streaming service for current and previous program series. Most people spend more time indoors during the winter. It’s entertainment to fill their extra time.
10. Printer cartridges. It’s a practical gift if they are working from home They will be using their home printer quite a bit. Ordering more cartridges online takes time. Their office supply store might have supply chain interruptions. They will get used. You will need to know the type of printer they own.
11. Your city’s magazine. Most metro areas have a glossy publication bearing the city’s name. It’s usually a luxury lifestyle publication. They usually include a calendar of what major cultural and civic organizations are doing over the next several months. Here’s a paradox: Tourists visiting your area usually see more of the major attractions than residents.
12.Membership to a local nonprofit. Your local museums, symphony, and parks are struggling. Few have been able to hold fundraising events or hold performances. They are an integral part of the fabric of your community. Get your client acquainted with one by buying a gift membership.
13.Non-perishable food. Christmas is often associated with luxury. This doesn’t need to be expensive. There’s plenty of high-quality chocolates and other confectionery available. They are often attractively packaged. People snack a lot over the holidays. Even if they are on their own, the goodies should be consumed.
14. Inspirational book. Some people are spiritual. Others like the biographies of famous people. If your friend “doesn’t read novels” this could be the ideal gift to energize them for the new year.
15.New Year’s Eve kit. They are likely staying home for New Year’s Eve. Everyone is looking forward to drawing a line under 2020 and getting started with 2021. Help your client make it an occasion. What party supplies would they and their family need? Put together a selection in a gift box.
2020 is your opportunity to give meaningful gifts to your business associates and clients.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions and has provided training for the financial services industry on high net worth client acquisition since 2001. Sanders spent 20 years with a leading financial services firm as a successful financial advisor, district sales manager, and home office manager. He is the author of "Captivating the Wealthy Investor," available on Amazon