Leaving a dent in our local universe

Business gifts are so 1990’s. We are better than that. Because nobody needs another thumb drive, umbrella, T-shirt, or a coffee cup with your logo.

Leaving a dent in our local universe

Because nobody needs another thumb drive, umbrella, T-shirt, or a coffee cup with your logo.

Twenty-twenty is going down in history as one of those milestone years. We entered this millennium fearing a computer-induced meltdown, and we got it, albeit in a different form — of a dot-com crash. Nearly a decade later, we had the financial crisis, and now we have the coronavirus. 2020 is the year of a face mask.

Digital transformation and changes in the way we work, learn, and stay away from each other got accelerated. What wasn’t possible before, now happened in two weeks months.

In the tech industry, we're enjoying the ride of our lives, but whole other sectors are collapsing: travel & tourism industries with all the airlines, hotels, and adjacent services. Small retailers, and everyone who doesn’t have the digital/online component: beauty salons, gyms, wellness centers. In Slovenia, my home country, we’ve had weeks of lockdowns, and we’re going to come out with a whole different set of available services on the other end.

But these aren’t businesses that are suffering and dying. It’s real people. The kind lady who cut your hair and shared random gossip. The gym coach who helped you achieve your fitness goals. That bartender around the corner where you had one too many drinks. And your favorite restaurant server.

I can’t imagine what they’re going through. Having your business shut down, with no other work available, no income, and too much month left at the end of the paycheck.

As we’re coming closer to the end of the era that is 2020, we’re focused on closing our year-end business, getting those last euros in. Customers are burning their budgets; sellers are making their quotas.

And it’s a period for business gifts. I always hated them. In the past, I was fortunate enough to be able to turn most of them down with the excuse that I’m flying with carry-on luggage only. They won’t allow that bottle of whiskey onboard. Those jackets won’t fit in my suitcase, sorry. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m the same for my birthday — I don’t think you need to buy me anything. I have everything I need; I found my enough.

Over the past twenty years, I observed more and more businesses turning to charity. Burning your holiday gifts budget for those in need is the noblest thing you can do. Invest some time in identifying local organizations you can support. Ask your employees if they know people who need help. Apply your business savviness — maybe it’s better to rebuild someone’s roof than giving plastic gifts to hundreds of kids. Perhaps you can donate your staff time to help a local charity. Make an impact on your local environment while strengthening your team. Win-win.

This world will be a much better place if we apply the same amount of creativity into charitable donations as we did in finding the most original gifts.

The worst you can do is trying to go digital with your giving. Cocktail hours; like anyone needs to get drunk via Zoom? Give the budget to your local addiction-treating charity and impress your customers by giving them an old-fashioned phone call. Ask about their families, listen to the challenges they're facing, thank them for their business, and mention that you’re donating to a good cause. Be specific, maybe entice them to do the same.

For your best customers, you can go even further. Call them, and then follow up with a handwritten mail. You know, the one written with a fountain pen, with a real stamp, and a card they might put under their Christmas tree. Nobody sends these anymore; you’ll be sure to stand out. Google Analytics can’t measure that, but I’m sure you’ll get noticed.

We can all leave a small dent in our local universe.  

Business gifts are so 1990’s. We are better than that.

Happy holidays!

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