Holiday Gift Giving: It’s the Thought That Counts

by | Dec 12, 2018

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This time of year is supposed to bring us joy and happiness. Unfortunately, the holidays also bring pressure—especially if you’re a small business pro. All too often, we feel obligated to give big to customers, vendors, employees, and other important people. That’s a lot of individual expenses that add up, at a time when you might be trying to keep within your end-of-year budget.

Then, if you decide to give gifts, a list of questions pops up. What should you give? Should you shop for everyone on your list, or just your key contacts? How much should you spend? What happens if you accidentally leave someone out?

Don’t panic!

Take a breath and do this exercise: pause and try to think of any amazing, earth-shattering holiday gifts you’ve received from past employers or business contacts. I’m willing to bet that list is very short, if not totally blank.

Really, then, it doesn’t make much sense to go nuts and blanket everyone in your small business address book with pricey gifts—they’ll be forgotten in a short time.

Giving options

Now that you’re done with that exercise, hopefully, you can breathe easier and think more clearly about your gift-giving strategy. Let’s take a look at some options.

Tangible present (examples: mugs, pens, business card holders)
Pros: Such things can be useful…and if they have your logo on them, it’s a little marketing piece as well.
Cons: …but do they already have enough of those things? If so, your gift might end up in forgotten in a drawer, or in the trash.

Food (candy, nuts, fruit basket)
Pros: We all eat, and candy is dandy…
Cons: …but what if the recipient is allergic, vegan, diabetic, keeping kosher or under some other restriction? They might not even like what you’re giving.

Charitable donation
Pros: Donations in someone’s name are thoughtful, and they aren’t left with a bulky thing to carry around…
Cons: …but you need to be careful that the charity you’re giving to doesn’t go against the recipient’s political beliefs and has a decent rating (check CharityNavigator.org to see how they measure up).

Gift card
Pros: The recipient gets to pick something they like.
Cons: There aren’t many cons, just a few cautions. If it’s for a store or restaurant, make sure there are locations convenient to the recipient; also, if you choose a Visa card, look for one that doesn’t lose value over time.

Nothing
Pros: Choosing to give nothing is inexpensive and everyone appreciates your great services and pricing anyway!
Cons: …but there’s a small risk of looking “cheap,” especially if you gave something last year.

Plan of attack

The best gift-giving approach will vary based on your financial situation, clientele, type of small business and other factors. I can’t decide for you, but I can share what I’m doing. Hopefully, you’ll draw some inspiration that will help you in your organization.

Everyone on my list gets custom cards. They’re carefully designed, customized with My Small Business Pro’s logo and surprisingly affordable. If you go that route, make sure the design is non-denominational, so that no one of any faith feels left out. If you opt not to do cards but are considering an email…don’t. They could strike some clients as cheap, impersonal, and your holiday sentiments will be lost in the electronic shuffle. Don’t we already get too much email?

Then, I select gifts for long-time clients. This sends the message that MSBP values our special, extended relationship. For some, I opt for gift cards to Lettuce Entertain You restaurants; there are tons of different spots around Chicago and in other states, so the recipients have a lot of freedom on how to redeem. Another positive about these—Lettuce Entertain You offers a bonus gift card of $25 for every $100 you spend on gift cards from Thanksgiving through Christmas, so your gift-giving dollar goes further. (These I don’t give away—the bonus cards do not work like cash and you must use them between 1/1 and 4/30.) For clients who keep kosher, I give Fannie May candy—their treats are high quality, and they have a strong Chicago connection.

A gift to yourself

The end of the year is the perfect time to give yourself and your small business the gift of financial fitness. Reach out to me at Daliah@MySmallBusinessPro.com so we can get your QuickBooks file set up and avoid a backlog in the new year, get ready for your taxes, or whatever accounting needs you may have. Happy Holidays!

Traditional forecasting can be a losing endeavor  

If you're a business owner, I bet you’ve been told you should be forecasting. This traditional advice suggests that there is a specific model to follow or a manual to use. However, as you and I both know, the reality is that when life gets in the way, your forecasting...

Understanding Financial Accountability  

"I'm not here to give you the good news."  I say that phrase to clients much more often than you might think. Because I ultimately want to celebrate their business's success with them, I’m there to tell them the actual state of their company's finances and guide...

Trust and Commitment in a Remote Team 

A couple of months ago, I made my first overseas trek since 2017 – not for vacation – but to meet with the rest of the Fritz Financial Solutions team of accountants in the Philippines. It was important to me to show these women the time and attention needed to...

Client Spotlight: Andrea Freidman 

As a business owner, one of the most significant challenges to overcome is work-life balance. This dilemma has only been exacerbated over the last several years and forced many "traditional" industries, such as the legal profession, to change their ways. Long before...

MEET THE TEAM: Joy mercado, Staff Accountant 

Joy Mercado joined Fritz Financial Solutions just over six months ago after completing an accelerator program with TOA Global, our offshore recruiting partner specializing in the accounting industry. Joy has quickly become an invaluable team member doing highly...

Client Spotlight: Isaac Crawford  

Isaac Crawford is a ray of sunshine who went after his dreams and came out on top when he started his own hair salon. He has been in the hair industry for almost 15 years and has serviced hundreds of clients in Chicago. An inspiration to entrepreneurs, we are excited...

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