Entrepreneurs are hard to buy for. We’re a demanding species and usually far too focused on our companies to give any helpful guidance to the significant other in our lives desperately trying to choose a nice gift. So here are my top ten suggestions for what to buy the businessperson in your life this Christmas:
#1 A gift-certificate with Kiva – micro-finance to entrepreneurs in the developing world:
This will remind your entrepreneur “it’s not all about YOU”, there are other entrepreneurs out there, some of them need support to set up their own business and thus create their own job. Kiva’s motto is “loans that change lives” and they enable ordinary people here to lend to entrepreneurs in the developing world and feel great about doing so. Kiva is a micro-finance pioneer, typical loans might be to fund the purchase of a sewing machine to produce garments for sale. Kiva makes your life easy by offering a range of gift certificates, which you can email, or print out at home. It even lets lenders set up a portfolio of their investments, and the promise of some feedback in the future. (But not necessarily a monthly set of management accounts of metrics to review and analyse!) Kiva.
After helping out other people through the magic of Kiva, now it’s time your entrepreneur looked after himself. You’ve been trying to persuade your significant other to take a break? Forget it. Just book that vacation/holiday now. They will appreciate it! If you can find somewhere with limited internet connectivity, even better. (Note, I said limited – no internet connectivity would be an unmitigated disaster!). Getting some down time and recharging the mental batteries is a good thing which many entrepreneurs don’t do nearly enough, and usually need some persuasion to help get them there. Trip Advisor.
#3 Smartphone: Motorola Droid / Milestone
You can never have enough gadgets and this is the most desirable smartphone currently available. It’s sold by Verizon in the US as the Droid and in Europe it’s available SIM free as the Milestone. Based on Google’s Android operating system it’s an alternative to the ubiquitous iPhone. Any true geek should have one of each.
#4 Amazon Kindle:
The Kindle is an electronic book reader which is unique in that it has a built-in mobile connection, so you can use it wirelessly in over 100 countries world-wide. Like other e-books the display uses “electronic ink”, so doesn’t cause eye-strain. Unlike a real book you can change the text size, search through text and download the first chapter to try-before-you-buy. It can even read to you! Books, magazines and newspapers can be downloaded over-the-air, and you can also browse Wikipedia for no cost. This is a single purpose gadget which encourages you to detach from the internet for a few moments and concentrate on a book, and that’s a good thing.
#5 Book: 100 Best Business Books of all time:
This book contains recommendations and summaries of 100 carefully researched books by the people behind 800-CEO-READ. It’s been divided into sections to let the reader easily find just the right sort of book for the particular challenge he’s having. The 2 or 3 page summary of each book gives you the heads up without necessarily having to read the whole book. A great resource and time saver. Buy on Amazon in the UK or US.
#6 Magazine subscription:
There are lots of great magazines like Business Week, Forbes, Fortune, Inc and Fast Company and they often highlight stories in a different way to web-only media. Magazines never need batteries, are highly portable and are definitely worth a read. (They can also be read during take off and landing on a flight, unlike laptops, iPhones, and Kindles which must all be turned off). Magazines.com
#7 Noise-cancelling headphones:
Most entrepreneurs end up doing a lot of travelling. The endless conferences, events, trade shows and client or investor meetings translate to a lot of time in the air. A set of these beauties will let him or her detach from the hustle and bustle and enjoy some quality relaxation time, or time to focus on their work in peace and with minimal distractions. Bose aren’t the only ones who make them, but are the most well-known.
#8 Priority Pass membership:
Economy class travellers can use this to get a tiny bit of respite at an airport lounge instead of being stuck in the chaos that is a modern airport. Only trouble is that once used to this it’s hard to go back. Priority Pass.
#9 Binary clock:
Two hands on a clock is very conventional and rather unchallenging. Why make life so easy? Here’s one for the programmer/geek entrepreneur, a binary clock which will keep his mind sharp whilst reading the time. On the other hand, it could be another excuse for why he’s never on time for anything non-work related.
#10 USB foot warmer:
For those entrepreneurs who find themselves stuck behind a desk most of the day, (or night), this USB foot warmer will stop frostbite, perhaps. (Or just chilly feet). Neat.
Anything I’ve missed off the list? Please comment below, I’m keen to hear from you!