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It's a Gift

Grab your Santa suit and load your sack with all the useful gadgets and goodies that will help your clients remember you in the new year.
November 1, 2001
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/45290

Giving clients holiday gifts is more than a good idea, to hear Leann Phenix talk about it: "It's a 'must do,'" says the CEO of the Austin, Texas, literary publicity firm that bears her name. "From the first year of our company's existence, we have given gifts even when cash flow was tight," she says. "We did so in the beginning to help people remember us. We continue to give gifts not only to stay visible, but also because we are genuinely thankful when people help us. It makes us feel good to give, and it makes the receiver feel good."

The good tidings have spread: Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists has grown from a start-up in 1994 to 11 employees and close to $1 million in revenues last year. And the company has honed its gift-giving skills in the process. Well before the holidays, Phenix already has a list to check twice. "We want the gifts we give to make a lasting impression," she explains.

Many small-business owners share her attitude. The most recent American Express survey on small-business gift buying estimated $5 billion would be spent wishing clients, employees and vendors "happy holidays." More than one-third of the nearly 800 business owners participating in the survey said they would buy holiday gifts, spending an average of $1,800 each.

Sure, that was in flush 1999-but even in tougher economic climates, business gifts are a wise investment. "Gifts will never take the place of good service, outstanding product and integrity, which are foremost in any [business] relationship," says Lynn Tucker, president of Corporate Presence LLC, a Baltimore-based corporate gift service company. "But all things being equal, entrepreneurs should never underestimate the edge they gain with a memorable gift."

Go to our gift guide now or keep reading .

A Bite to Eat

Everyone enjoys a few indulgences during the holidays. The tasteful gifts below will make a big impression.

A Fruitcake from Collin Street Bakery (800-292-7400) features Texas pecans, pure clover honey, pineapples, papayas, white raisins and cherries. Price: $16.95.

Cookies from Chris's Cookies (201- 438-4440) come in several delectable varieties, including chocolate chunk, oatmeal maple and peanut butter. Price: $21 for a tin of 12.

Brownies from Selma's ( 800-992-6654) are dense, moist squares loaded with dark and white chocolate and Heath Bar Crunch. Price: $20.95 per dozen.

Praline Pecans from Savannah Candy Kitchen (800-443-7884) are sweet pecan confections with a distinctively Southern flair. In addition to the traditional variety, they're also available covered in white and dark chocolate. Price: $19.95-$29.95 for a box of 18.

Cheesecake from Junior's Restaurant in Brooklyn (800-958-6467) is an 8-inch, 3-pound indulgence available in a variety of mouth-watering flavors, including raspberry swirl and apple crumb. Price: $27.95.

Starbucks (800-STARBUC) offers a variety of gift baskets, coffee samplers and more. The blends sampler gift basket features a half-pound each of French Roast, House Blend, CaffÿFDFDFDFD Verona and Christmas Blend whole-bean coffees in an embossed holiday tin. The new Starbucks Card smart card lets businesses purchase and reload cards for client, customer or employee gifts. Price: $22.95 for blends sampler.

Cushion the potholes along a road warrior's path with these gifts that make travel a pleasure.

The Buckwheat Pillow (800-813-7624), a small pillow filled with buckwheat hulls and covered in all-natural fibers, conforms to the head and neck to reduce stress and tension. Price: $55.

No more early-morning wake-up calls from the front-desk staff. The Travel Zen Alarm Clock (800- 779-6383) provides a gentle awakening with long-resonating, pure tone acoustic chimes. Price: $89.95.

For longer trips where space is often at a premium, Swiss Army's Upright Mobilizer (888-658-0717) is the solution. This durable, thoughtfully designed carry-on has plenty of room for both clothes and gadgets, and comes with a rugged lock. The medium-sized bag fits in most overhead compartments. Price: $480 for medium bag.

Atlantic Luggage's Upright Virtual Office (888-658-0717) has room for even the biggest techno-geek's arsenal of equipment. This spacious carrying case comfortably holds a computer and plenty of peripherals; wheels mean easy maneuverability in any location even when fully loaded. Price: $169.

Kensington's FlyLight (800-280-8318) plugs into a laptop to illuminate the keyboard in dark environments, such as airplane cabins on red-eye flights. It uses less than 90 seconds of laptop battery power per hour. Price: $19.99.

Cushion the potholes along a road warrior's path with these gifts that make travel a pleasure.

The Buckwheat Pillow (800-813-7624), a small pillow filled with buckwheat hulls and covered in all-natural fibers, conforms to the head and neck to reduce stress and tension. Price: $55.

No more early-morning wake-up calls from the front-desk staff. The Travel Zen Alarm Clock (800- 779-6383) provides a gentle awakening with long-resonating, pure tone acoustic chimes. Price: $89.95.

For longer trips where space is often at a premium, Swiss Army's Upright Mobilizer (888-658-0717) is the solution. This durable, thoughtfully designed carry-on has plenty of room for both clothes and gadgets, and comes with a rugged lock. The medium-sized bag fits in most overhead compartments. Price: $480 for medium bag.

Atlantic Luggage's Upright Virtual Office (888-658-0717) has room for even the biggest techno-geek's arsenal of equipment. This spacious carrying case comfortably holds a computer and plenty of peripherals; wheels mean easy maneuverability in any location even when fully loaded. Price: $169.

Kensington's FlyLight (800-280-8318) plugs into a laptop to illuminate the keyboard in dark environments, such as airplane cabins on red-eye flights. It uses less than 90 seconds of laptop battery power per hour. Price: $19.99.

Cushion the potholes along a road warrior's path with these gifts that make travel a pleasure.

The Buckwheat Pillow (800-813-7624), a small pillow filled with buckwheat hulls and covered in all-natural fibers, conforms to the head and neck to reduce stress and tension. Price: $55.

No more early-morning wake-up calls from the front-desk staff. The Travel Zen Alarm Clock (800- 779-6383) provides a gentle awakening with long-resonating, pure tone acoustic chimes. Price: $89.95.

For longer trips where space is often at a premium, Swiss Army's Upright Mobilizer (888-658-0717) is the solution. This durable, thoughtfully designed carry-on has plenty of room for both clothes and gadgets, and comes with a rugged lock. The medium-sized bag fits in most overhead compartments. Price: $480 for medium bag.

Atlantic Luggage's Upright Virtual Office (888-658-0717) has room for even the biggest techno-geek's arsenal of equipment. This spacious carrying case comfortably holds a computer and plenty of peripherals; wheels mean easy maneuverability in any location even when fully loaded. Price: $169.

Kensington's FlyLight (800-280-8318) plugs into a laptop to illuminate the keyboard in dark environments, such as airplane cabins on red-eye flights. It uses less than 90 seconds of laptop battery power per hour. Price: $19.99.

Cushion the potholes along a road warrior's path with these gifts that make travel a pleasure.

The Buckwheat Pillow (800-813-7624), a small pillow filled with buckwheat hulls and covered in all-natural fibers, conforms to the head and neck to reduce stress and tension. Price: $55.

No more early-morning wake-up calls from the front-desk staff. The Travel Zen Alarm Clock (800- 779-6383) provides a gentle awakening with long-resonating, pure tone acoustic chimes. Price: $89.95.

For longer trips where space is often at a premium, Swiss Army's Upright Mobilizer (888-658-0717) is the solution. This durable, thoughtfully designed carry-on has plenty of room for both clothes and gadgets, and comes with a rugged lock. The medium-sized bag fits in most overhead compartments. Price: $480 for medium bag.

Atlantic Luggage's Upright Virtual Office (888-658-0717) has room for even the biggest techno-geek's arsenal of equipment. This spacious carrying case comfortably holds a computer and plenty of peripherals; wheels mean easy maneuverability in any location even when fully loaded. Price: $169.

Kensington's FlyLight (800-280-8318) plugs into a laptop to illuminate the keyboard in dark environments, such as airplane cabins on red-eye flights. It uses less than 90 seconds of laptop battery power per hour. Price: $19.99.