Sleigh bells are ringing, cookies are baking, and kids are out playing in the snow. The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes good cheer, gift giving, and a general feeling of generosity and goodwill toward fellow men. This is one of the most wonderful things about the holiday season, and anyone who doesn’t agree likely hasn’t ever seen the magic of giving.
You see, when you give to someone, you begin a chain of events that is truly astounding to see, and yet time and time again, the same chain of events continues to play out.
The chain generally begins with something simple—a token gift given, or a coffee bought for a stranger. This leaves the recipient feeling both grateful and generous. Therefore, he or she will proceed to offer the gift-giver something in return. Usually, the gift-giver declines the offer, and they both go their own ways. However, the recipient is left feeling happier, and the gift, however small it may have been, puts a smile on their face and a spring in their step. The receiver will likely be questioned about his or her good mood and will gladly tell the story of the kind person who so generously bought them coffee or offered them a small gift. In fact, the receiver may be so excited to share this story that they don’t even wait to be asked, thus spreading the story of kindness wherever they go that day.
While this common story is wonderful in and of itself, and will hopefully inspire people to begin carrying out random acts of kindness in their everyday lives, there is also a business lesson to be learned from it. After all, running a business involves working with people each and every day, and by observing the actions and reactions of the people around us, we can get a pretty good idea of how people might act in business.
In this particular case, we learn that there is something to be earned from giving. While we should all make giving a habit of goodwill and something we do from our hearts, it is always good to know that your giving may be rewarded with something besides that lovely glowing feeling.
So what can a business get from giving? The answer is advertisement.
No, a kind gift won’t get you a billboard or a television commercial, but what it will get you is word-of-mouth advertisement, and that my friends, is in many ways even better than paid advertisements. After all, who do you trust more, a friend or a billboard?
Here is how it works. You have a particular client that has been really great for you and/or your business. You love having this client around, and you want to show your appreciation, so you get them a gift card to a local coffee shop, a place you happen to know they love. Of course, your client is thrilled by your generosity and, not unlike the recipient in the story above, spreads the word of your generosity.
While they will likely tell individuals of your kindness (a great bonus on its own), your client may also post on Facebook or Twitter about what a generous business you are. He or she may even post a picture of their coffee on Instagram. If you are lucky, you could even get a tag or two. No matter where your client posts or who they decide to tell about your gesture, you are getting exposure, and people are learning about your business in a positive light. That is something every small business could use, and you can have it for the small price of being a giving individual.
Of course, nobody should ever give a gift with the expectation of getting something in return. That obviously defeats the purpose of the gift, and definitely sets you up for disappointment. It is always important to remember that gift recipients aren’t required to shout your praises, and it is possible that you will give a gift to a more reserved individual who offers you little to no exposure in return. Therefore, it is crucial that you always give from the heart because you truly appreciate a person and want them to know you care.
That said, there is nothing wrong with enjoying any advertising you may get in exchange for your generosity. It also isn’t a bad thing to continue running a generous company knowing that what goes around comes around, and that you will get what’s coming to you eventually, while still enjoying the fun of sharing in the meantime. In fact, this way of running a business is a great way to make connections in the community.
On that note, we hope you will begin looking at gift-giving as a business in a different way. Though it may be hard to budget for something as seemingly frivolous as gift-giving, now that you have been reminded that the way you are viewed as a company directly impacts your customer base, and shown that gift-giving can put your business in a much more positive light, you will likely be more open to creating a gifting budget in the future.
Want to learn more about running a successful business? We would love to chat with you! Please feel free to contact us with any questions whenever you like. We are always here to help you find the information you need.