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You’ve received business gifts, right? Maybe it was a calendar from your pest control company, or perhaps a birthday card with a gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse from your financial advisor.
Have you given a business gift? Great idea. Before you whip out your credit card, let’s stop and think this through. This is a business move, so treat it seriously.
Next, consider the person you are gifting. Does their company even allow them to accept gifts? This is where a little research or a phone call could save you serious embarrassment. Maybe your insurance agent gave you something, but that does not mean they can accept something in return. In medicine, insurance, and any sort of financial service, there are often rules against accepting gifts.
If your business associate can accept gifts, what do you get them? The best business gift ideas come from knowing that person and what they like. Not what you like, what they like.
Consumables remain a popular choice, but use caution. While everyone eats, many people have dietary restrictions for medical or religious reasons. Alcohol is the same way–it’s one thing to buy a nice bottle of wine for a client who really enjoys wine and visiting vineyards and so forth. But to others, a bottle of alcohol might be offensive.
Concert tickets or tickets to a game can be fun, and if your client cannot use them, they can be easily re-gifted. Which brings up the tricky point of re-gifting. It can be a useful way to recycle items. For instance, if you’re vegan and someone gives you a nice wooden box of vacuum-packed salmon, you can certainly wrap it up and give it to someone who enjoys fish. However, don’t take that old tote bag or squeeze bottle you got at a conference last year and give them out. You’ll do more harm than good.
You may have heard there are tax benefits to business gifts. As with all tax issues, do your homework.
When giving business gifts, remember to be authentic and be ethical. A thoughtful gift at the right moment can help build a lasting business relationship, so put the same consideration into it that you would any other business decision.