Guest Post By Deborah Myers of VirtuArte
You may think about doing something special for key customers or other significant people in your business life during various holiday seasons throughout the year. Thoughtfully chosen business gifts can be a wonderful way to strengthen your bonds with people important to your company. But, selecting business gifts is a little different from shopping for friends or loved ones.
Advising businesspeople on selecting memorable and meaningful gifts is a specialty in my own small business, VirtuArte. I use a few rules of thumb when helping my clients shop VirtuArte’s handcrafted pieces made by artists, often women, in the developing world, whose communities benefit socially and economically through trading in the United States.
These four tips may help you, too:
- Consider your intent. Gifts chosen with clear intent make a strong positive impression. Business gift-giving typically expresses thanks. An item related to your field can work nicely, such as a photographer giving a decorative picture frame that brings the photography business to mind.
- Decide on recipients. Who will you recognize with gifts? Top customers? Reliable referrers? Trusted advisers? Consider how many you’ll be buying for as you settle on a price level.
- Think personal, but not too personal. Recipients should be excited, but not uncomfortable about your gesture. Remember to respect cultural or religious differences that may affect the appropriateness of your gift in a recipient’s eyes. Determining whether your gift will be for use at home or in the office helps narrow your options. Strike the right note with a functional piece— like a business card case or set of coasters — or an ornamental item — a colorful glass plate or decorative box, for example.
- Create a whole gift-giving experience. Conveying your gift’s message of appreciation begins even before a package is opened. Wrap your gift beautifully, perhaps tying it in ribbon in the colors of your logo. Attach a handwritten note, and if possible, present the gift in person.
When you choose and present gifts with this level of care, you will see an incredible difference in the reactions of your business associates. Then, there is joy in giving as well receiving business gifts.
Deborah Myers founded VirtuArte after many years working with international corporations, governments, and nongovernmental organizations to solve issues facing developing countries. She sells art pieces from a townhouse on Capitol Hill and online.