Big trends call to actionAre you finding it difficult to come up with the perfect holiday gift for your small business customers or clients?  Choosing something that shows your appreciation for business throughout the year is not necessarily easy to do. Budget may very well be a consideration, but you also want to purchase something that you know your customers will appreciate. You don’t want your gift handed off to someone else or ending up in the post-holiday recycling bin.

As you decide who among your clients or customers – if not all – should receive more than a holiday card, here are a few things to help in your decision making from Score:

  • Make a list of the clients or customers you want to especially thank, categorize them by the volume of their business and then choose a budget for 1-3 gift tiers for the various categories. Factor shipping costs into your budget.
  • Consider where you want your customer or client to be when they use the gift – and think of you – in their home, on the road or in the office.
  • Think about retail trends when considering items, since you want your gift to be current and relevant. Also your gift should be memorable, of good quality and reflective of your company – your small business brand, personality or values – so that it stands out.

Whatever you decide, make sure that gift giving isn’t violating any laws. In a “Guide to Corporate Gifts,” John Treace cautions that you make sure not to violate any state, federal or local laws about gift giving in your industry or your customer’s industry.  He notes, “The US military, for example, cannot accept gifts at all, and Medicare fraud and abuse laws regulate gift-giving to doctors and hospital staff who deal with Medicare reimbursements.”

When it comes to tax deductions, the IRS allows you to deduct up to $25 for business gifts you give to any one person per year. There is no limit on how many people you can give business gifts to during the year or how much you spend, but you can only deduct $25 per gift.

Gift ideas

It’s always fun to get your group together and brainstorm holiday gift-giving ideas. Here are several to get the ideas flowing:

Budget minded: Wall or desk calendars are always useful. With your small business name and contact information on them, calendars are a good reminder for customers to call your business for products or services during the year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA touch of class: A vintage wine makes a wonderful and elegant gift. Even if your clients or customers aren’t wine drinkers, they may have friends and family members who are and it’s always a crowd pleaser to offer a quality aged wine.

Gift cards or memberships: You can’t go wrong with a gift card to one of your client’s favorite retail stores, restaurants or coffee shops. Also consider one of those gift-of-the month clubs, which enable you to send anything from chocolates to fruit to even peanut butter! Check out Amazing Clubs.

Mobility matters: These days everyone is tied to their mobile devices, so you might want to gift a smartphone or tablet accessory, such as a case or cover with your small business name on it. If you want to consider a headset, we recommend our Marque 2 mobile Bluetooth headset or Backbeat Go 2 wireless stereo earbuds.

If you’re not sure what the perfect gift is, spend time checking out your customers’ social media pages to find out what they like  – sports, travel, hiking or reading a good book.  They are sure to mention one of their favorite past times on Facebook, Twitter or even LinkedIn. With a little bit of detective work, you can pick out a gift that is sure to be a hit.