“Listen to yourself. You know what I mean – listen to that voice that’s telling you what you really want to be when you grow up. Give yourself the chance to try it, and see what happens. When I quit art school as a teenager, I also quit my dream. I “settled” for far too long before I took that dream back, but I’m happy to be living it now!”
The majority of businesses give gifts; these may be at specific times of the year; such as Christmas or at annual celebrations. Research shows that most of these gifts are issued to business clients; this is to cement the commitment each business has to each other and continue to build on their existing relationship. Long serving employees or those who have performed exceptionally well also receive gifts. Most businesses also give gifts to prospective new customers.
There is limited research into the effectiveness of gift giving as an incentive to new customers but the studies which have been completed show business which give gifts do gain more customer enquiries.
Gift or Incentive?
A gift must be seen as something which is unexpected and delivered spontaneously. An incentive is a designated prize or gift for achieving a specified goal. It is important to know the difference as one is used to motivate employees whilst the other builds relationships.
Different businesses have different rules regarding giving and receiving gifts. This can be particularly true when dealing with different countries and different lifestyles. There are also tax implications of certain gifts or value of gifts and you need to be aware of these. There are several occasions when you should never give gifts as they may be misinterpreted:
- During the bidding process; a gift may be considered a bribe
- Expensive gifts can send the wrong message and question both the business and the receiver’s motivation. It will also be likely to fall foul of modern gift regulations.
- Gifts given publicly can cause embarrassment, particularly if they are inappropriate or provide the wrong impression.
Giving the Right Gift
It is very easy to give a gift which will cause more harm to a relationship than good. It is important to stick to the following guidelines:
- The gift must be appropriate. This is not a matter of cost but rather of whether the gift will be gratefully received by the recipient. If you attempt to use a gift to break the ice with a new client it is likely to backfire. Gifts should be given no more than two or three times a year and should never be excessively lavish.
- The gift should be relevant to the receiver, this way they will both appreciate the gift and the effort undertaken by you.
- Timing is essential. A gift should only be given when there is a solid reason; preferably one that recognizes the value of the relationship. This could be the anniversary of a business relationship or their birthday.
- Present the gift nicely. After having put some serious thought into what gift to give you will need to present it nicely. This includes deciding whether it is more appropriate to mail the gift to their work or home address; it may even be better to deliver it in person.
Knowing how to give and when to give is not enough! You must also choose what to give. There are many options and the following are some of the best:
- Food items, particularly baskets can be a good choice as they can be enjoyed with family and friends. However, some of the selections can be very bland and not speak directly to a person. A little more thought may help. It is also worth considering whether the gift will get past the receptionist or whether it will simply feed the admin staff!
- Alcohol has always been a favorite gift although it is imperative to pick something that the receiver will enjoy. This is a gift which should be considered carefully, wine or whiskey collectors will appreciate a good bottle, other people will not.
- Tickets for sporting events can be an excellent gift. As long as your client has an interest in the show or event it will be a great thrill and a great gift. Provided you pick an event they will actually enjoy!
Whatever gift you choose it is essential to think hard and choose the gift carefully. The gift must be something that the recipient will like, not something that you like. If gifts are not appropriate it may be worth making a donation on their behalf to their favorite charity.
By John Smith and VeritasGifts.co.uk!
I worked 16 years as an executive assistant at 8 different companies. Every two years I jumped because I was ‘not’ happy. My strong desire to be an ‘artist’ and live a creative life continued to resurface repetitively and I constantly asked myself “how can I make this happen?” Creativity takes courage, and that I did not have enough of. Finally, in 2011, after teaching myself graphic design off of a $50 bootleg piece of software, I had strummed up enough freelance clients to boost the motivation.
With the support of my family and entrepreneurial friends, I quit my job to start my boutique creative agency full-time. For 10 years, my husband was a stay @ home dad, so the weight of this decision was very major for our clan. The last job I was in, I worked with a very unhappy and abusive boss, I had no other choice. Every day, I would drive to work in tears, wanting to somehow get lost or take a wrong turn so that I would not end up in that office once more.
After two years in business, plenty of ups and downs, learning, experimenting and hustling, I finally found pure JOY. I am doing what I love, which is being creative. I began working out 4-5 times a week; so I am much healthier, and dropping a few pounds on the way. I am here to support my children, and utilize my creativity to support our elementary school and church in various ways. I take time every Sunday to read, get inspired and most recently, pick up my paint brush and simply ‘create’ for hours. Each week I am working on making more time for myself, meeting clients and friends for my favorite treat (coffee) and making a new goal for myself or my business, to accomplish. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to organize a series of books titled “The Entrepreneur Within You” where we feature the stories of many entrepreneurs; this large effort makes me so happy inside. I can truly say after 16-20 years of being in various careers, I am finally happy and joyful.
Just finalizing some deets for The Entrepreneur Within ~ Book Release Coming 10.28.2012 ~ just so happened to come across my application to, The School of The Art Institute Chicago, from 1994. At the time, my awesome art teacher Craig A. Anderson told me STERNLY, “go to business school” ~ instead I demanded to go to “art school” and spent $25,000++ of my parent’s money in one year only to QUIT.
Shaking my head now, as I am nearly done with my “business degree” at age 35, I reflected back to the letter of recommendation that Mr. A wrote for me to get into the art school.
He said, “Julie is committed to her art and her inspiration has helped many of her classmates. Her positive attitude and her self discipline will be a welcome contribution in any class she may participate in at the Art Institute. This opportunity will enable her to expand and expand her talent.”
As I reflect on this piece of paper today, I realize that my MISSION was always to do art, inspire others and be a business woman. The ONLY thing that is a little cloudy is that the second I quit “art school,” I got a job at the corporation where my dad worked (because he made me) so I could afford my rent. Through 15 years of corporate life, I bounced from jobs every two to three years. I had a few incredible companies that I worked for such as Nike, Accenture and Home Depot, but I also had a few that de-inspired me. The end result is that every single opportunity that we encounter is an opportunity to GROW. Do not stay PAST your expiration date as Rhonda Alexander would say in TEW. Do not fail to live your PURPOSE as Bernada Nicole Baker would say. Do not overlook the excellent business relationships in your life as Glenn Murray would say and certainly, do not forget to ask for help as Merry Linden would say. Do not be a serial entrepreneur as Patrice Perkins quotes in the book. Do not let getting fired over a text message deter your dreams (@Shaniqua Anderson) and certainly “marry your destiny” (Corliss Johnson). Do not let anyone have power over you, as Nicole Knox would claim, and be a “power keeper.” I could go on and on and I will go on and on very soon.
We have over 12 writers / guest authors moving on the journey of publishing the TEW book and I am beyond excited. I am surrounded by loving and hard-working business owners and entrepreneurs, mentors and faith-movers and shakers. I am gracious for all of them right now as we move to “marry our destiny,” one step at a time.
We stand to WIN.