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Our first Biz Channel Theme Day … Holilday gifts

by Tris Hussey on December 12th, 2006

Yep it’s that time of year again.  That gift buying season.  I’m pretty much done with my shopping only a couple things left to get … oops that’s for my family.  Crap.  Maybe these great posts will inspire me … actually they already have.  So let’s get to it …

Being the host I’ll go first … I’m a pretty esoteric, maybe eccentric, guy … I’m suggesting you go back to basics and give a Moleskinne notebook to capture your thoughts and ideas and a good pen to go with it.

Rico on Contract Worker has the sprit of the season with his gift … give your time and expertise to nonprofit groups who need it.  That’s a great idea.  It’s one I’ve done before and it works year around.  Whatever heart cockles are, this sure warms them.

But there are those out there who really really need your marketable skills. A non-profit organization looking to get its message across. Or a less-fortunate friend with a great business idea, though lacking the necessary writing skills to craft a business plan. What’s a great holiday gift? Offering your services to these people—for free.

Des is a great guy.  I’ve known him for ages.  His is one of the few ebooks that I enjoyed reading (remember I generally don’t like ebooks).  Des, has great gift suggestions, but this one is my favourite:

A pet parrot trained to say once a day “Wow! That’s a great post you wrote yesterday! I’m sure you’ll have another top one today.”

Man who doesn’t need that now and then!

Okay, Benjamin on Startup Spark has been creative.  I think it’s because he’s in Montreal which is a pretty creative and wild place.  He has some super ideas, but this funny one really caught my eye … maybe it’s the mood I’m in right now.

For example, say your business has something to do with streamlining the way a company works; improving operations, helping with project management, teamwork, etc. (That covers a LOT of businesses.) Why not buy some Whoopee Cushions ($1.99) and send those to clients and prospects. In the attached card, write “Meetings Stink.” (If you make a million dollars on this idea I want a piece of the action!)

Liz might have the "gift that keeps on giving" … post ideas!  OMG, how often have I sat at the computer knowing I needed to post and thinking "I’ve got nothing".  Liz I think you’ve made my January!

At the end of some days, we can’t tell where some ideas started or where they end. We have the same ideas at the same time independently. Our thoughts interweave, connect, and influence each other’s thoughts. Our ideas turn into remarkable and thrilling concepts and realities. Humans, who think up ideas, are incredible at doing that.

You’ve had some of these ideas. I’ve had some. Some have been around, it seems, forever. I’ve tried to twist some when I could. Some come with links to example posts — from my posts, from yours and from others.

Maricel on Property Crossroads has gotten down to brass tacks with some gifts we’d all like to have.  You know, this one is great.  Essentially giving employees a vacation.  I love it.

5) Travel Voucher

This is always a popular gift among my staff and clients before.  If I close a big deal, I get very generous to throw out a travel deal.  This Christmas season is the most festive time of the year to travel, be merry and forget all your worries away.  Moreover, most businesses are less active during the holidays so its the perfect time to take a break from work. 

Eric, a fellow Canadian, has a gift that is sure to make people laugh and maybe give you something to fiddle with at work … I give you, The Cube Zombie!

Bren’s style on Slacker Manager is just cool.  He’s saying what we all think.  Man, I hate trying to find good gifts for everyone.  Do you pick something unique for each person (and go insane in the process) or go with something like a gift card (I like gift cards, I know that even some family are going to get those this year … not for the kids, they jsut don’t get it)?  His take on the gift card is important.  You might be giving a gift that is essentially the same, but you can make it special.

I know I’m coming off all Scrooge here, but I do have one redeeming option for office gifts that actually does accompany a Target gift card quite well: a personalized and thoughtful note to employees and bosses alike. The upside of a handwritten (yes, handwritten) note is that it’s cheap from a dollars-and-cents perspective. It’s rather extravagant from a time-and-thought-invested perspective, however. The cool thing is that a truly thoughtful handwritten note from the boss can generate some very long lasting good vibes. And, if you’re a Scrooge like me, it’s good practice to think about how much you appreciate the individual strengths and talents that your employees (and bosses) bring to the office each day.

Jim on Small Busienss Boomers is a man after my own heart.  Give people books.  Perfect.  He has some great suggestions for books to give, but before he gets to that, he says something really important:

If you were a good vendor then you gave you clients the best service and the best deal you could.  If a gift was going to make or break your business relationship then you were skating of thin ice anyway.When I gave gifts I wanted to pick something out for the individual.  Rather than get all esoteric I’ll stick to the material and useful.  My favorite gifts are books and wine.  Occasionally, I’ll give a hand picked food basket.   I know these gifts say more about me than the people I’m gifting, big deal.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Now Mary Emma also has some practical suggestions for us.  I love practical suggestions.  I have a hard time, sometimes, buying gifts for people.  Some people claim I’m hard to buy for.  I don’t think so.  But, if you think so … well this is a good list.  Heck this whole post is chock full of good ideas.  Anyway, here are Mary Emma’s suggestions …

*Gift certificates…you can give these as gifts yourself or sell them for customers to purchase for their gift giving.

*Give something you make or have available that is special for a particular person on your list.

*Give small handouts to your customers…stuffers for their shopping bags or packages mailed.

*Give a gift certificate for a service you perform.

Glen at LifeDev (a new member of the B5 Biz Channel Family) turns this on it’s ear  Let’s really focus this season on giving.  Yep.  That’s cool.

I wonder what it would be like if Santa asked “What do you want to Give this Christmas?”. By placing all of the emphasis on getting, we’re setting getters up for failure, and putting tremendous pressure on the givers. But if we shift the focus on what we’re giving, this problem goes away.

Ron at Brand Curve reminds us that part of the gift is the brand. Like a lamp with a stained glass lampshade … which is better Wal-Mart or Tiffany?  Yeah, thought so.

I guess my point here is, a gift isn’t a great gift just because of its material nature. A gift’s emotional character and personality gives just as much (if not more) value to the reciever than the physical character of it. Brands are a great way to make this emotional character more important and with true significance.

Sean at Franchise Pick is actually giving us gifts!  He’s recommending books on franchise ins and outs … with discounts!  Cool!

Mark at Digital Money World is going for fun gifts, maybe even risque gifts … but hey who doesn’t like a little fun?

So there you go.  If you’re still looking for gift ideas after reading all these … man you’ve got issues.  There is something for everyone.  All budgets, fun, practical, heartwarming.  I want to thank all my fellow B5 Biz Channel bloggers to taking the time to write these posts for our first theme day.  Think this is a one off?  Not!  Next month we already have the topic … 2007 Goals.  Look for it on the second Tuesday of January (that would be the ninth).

That’s all for now.  Happy Holidays everyone.

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