If you ask the entrepreneur in your life what they need on a particularly frustrating day, you know you can't make all of their dreams come true: "Got a few million dollars lying around?" they might ask, or "Know any good front end developers who will work for free?" Particularly in the early stages of becoming your own boss, there are plenty of big things entrepreneurs need to make their growing ventures as successful as they imagined.
While you may not be able to make all their grand dreams come true just yet, here are a few practical and helpful gifts that they might not even think to ask for, but will definitely use and appreciate.
1. Charging Accessories
When you become an entrepreneur, you sign up for a life of being "always on," especially in the early stages. Every hour you're not working is an hour you're not making money or growing, so many entrepreneurs are constantly in Go Mode.
To make sure they never miss a beat, get them a charging bank, like this KMASHI portable charging bank, that will refill their device to a full charge multiple times. You'll be giving them a gift that keeps on giving. You can take it a step further and opt for a bag that charges their devices on the go. The Northface Surge II is a outdoorsy option, but there are sleeker messenger bag options and they even make colorful charging wristlets for female entrepreneurs.
2. Adapters & Cords
If your entrepreneur's business requires pitching clients or investors, then they are likely making presentations in lots of different conference rooms and event spaces. Set-up can be unpredictable in these mystery rooms, and the necessary adapters and connecting cords could be missing, damaged or not provided.
Giving your entrepreneur a tech "go bag" with an HDMI adapter, VGA adapter, ethernet cable, and any other key cords they may need will ensure they're always ready to present their big idea at a moment's notice. (If they have a Mac, be sure you get the appropriate thunderbolt adapters for HDMI, VGA, and ethernet!)
3. Coffee Gift Cards
Entrepreneurs often have a lot of meetings with clients, collaborators, and mentors. If they don't have an office space of their own yet, they are likely having a lot of these meetings in coffee shops in their area. Buying them a gift card to one of these shops will help them keep caffeinated and keep costs down while keeping up appearances.
Take a look at the coffee shops in their neighborhood on an app like Yelp, and look for ones with Wi-Fi and good seating. If you're not sure where they hang out, Starbucks is usually a safe bet, with reliable Wi-Fi and enough outlets and tables to serve as an office on the go.
While it's not the sexiest gift, a whiteboard is definitely practical. Entrepreneurship is full of brainstorms, collaboration, and idea generation, and that often happens in the context of a whiteboard or large scrap paper. Give them space to make more ideas come to life.
If they have an office space or work from home, consider a large whiteboard that can be wall mounted and includes a ledge for markers and erasers. If they're a bit more limited on space, then opt for a smaller one, but try for a magnetic one so they can keep relevant papers nearby. Consider throwing in some colored markers, an eraser, and some whiteboard cleaning spray to maximize its lifespan.
5. Payment Items
If your entrepreneur is selling goods or services already, then you can do your part to make that process easier and less expensive by getting them some of the essentials. Square Credit Card Reader allows them to take card payments with their phone. (There's even an version that accepts chip cards). Paypal also makes their own card reader that plugs into a mobile device. If they have a physical space, then you can get a card-reading stand for a tablet that would operate like a cash register.
Starting a small business and launching your own venture involves a lot of late nights and likely more than a few concerns about your funds while you're making it happen. A simple gift that will be used immediately is a gift you can eat!
For a quick pick-me-up, send some pizzas to their office, use Seamless or call direct to schedule a delivery of ice cream or cookies from a local shop, or just send a care package with some of their favorite goodies. For a longer-term gift, consider setting up deliveries or a membership to services like Plated or BlueApron to bring fresh goodies on a regular basis, or try a subscription service like Graze or TasteClub to deliver a sampling of snacks each month.
Let's face it, being an entrepreneur can be exhausting. Sometimes everyone needs a break, so give a gift that lets your entrepreneur rest and re-charge. It could be a gift card to the movies, a spa gift certificate, or tickets to a concert or play. If you can make it easier for them to unwind, without breaking the bank, you'll help keep their morale high and prevent burnout.
What other practical gifts have you given to the entrepreneurs in your life? Sound off in the comments.