Giving Better Gifts to Clients and Partners


In the middle of the holiday season, gifts are on everyone’s minds. Gifts for family and friends, but also gifts for clients and partners.  

Gifts are not only a token of appreciation for the relationship you have with others, but they can also serve as a way to keep yourself top of mind with the recipient, and make the relationship even stronger as time goes on. 

What can you do as a business owner to give better gifts that are more impactful? We’ll talk about a few key tips in this article! 

Get the Timing Right 

Let’s get the first things first. Even though we’re talking about this topic now because the holiday season is such a common time for corporate gift-giving, it’s not necessarily the most effective time for gifts. 

Think about it: you send a gift to a partner in the middle of December. You know who else is sending gifts that week? Everyone else who works with that partner. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. And even if your gift is remembered, you’re directly competing for mind-space with other gift-givers. The calendar often dictates our gift-giving, between holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries, and there’s nothing wrong with giving gifts then, but consider some alternatives, too. 

The most impactful gifts often come when they are not expected. They show that you’re thinking about the recipient even during a time when others might not be. So for example you may choose to give gifts on atypical holidays, or even in a random month “just because.” 

You’ll stand out from the crowd better than ever! 

It’s About the Recipient 

There’s an important truth that we all know in our head, but often forget in practice: a gift is about the recipient, not the giver.  

It’s easy to make a gift about you. You put your name and logo front and center. You make a gift of something that is connected to you and your interests. 

That approach won’t win as much favor. The best gifts are things that matter to the recipient, things that have a connection to them and their interests, and that are applicable to their lives. Don’t gift something you want; gift something they want.  

The best gifts are things that the recipient can use in their lives, maybe even every day. It’s something practical, that won’t just be regifted, given away, or thrown out. And if you find something like that, then you can continue to stay on top of mind not just once, but repeatedly. Every time they pull out and use that gift, they know you’re the one who gave it to them. 

A practical gift can earn you far more mindshare over the long run than a tchotchke with your logo emblazoned on the front. A slow and steady approach will work more effectively. 

Have a Plan 

Finally, your gift-giving should be deliberate, intentional, and planned. Many people reach the end of the year, look to see how much money is remaining in the budget, and then figure out their gift-giving approach to fit within that. It’s an afterthought, pieced together out of whatever’s left over late in the year. 

If you want to give better gifts and make them a valuable part of your strategy, then you have to have a plan. Sit down at the beginning of the year – not the end – and come up with a budget. Set the money aside up front, and then plan how and when you want to spend it over the course of the year. Do you want to send one gift? Multiple smaller gifts throughout the year? Who will be your recipients? All clients and/or partners, or a select subset? Sometimes focusing on a smaller group will help you make a bigger impression on the people who matter the most. 

Figure these things out first, and you’re sure to make a bigger impression. You don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune and buy the most luxurious gifts you can find. But you do make it something that will matter to the recipient. Taking a more planned approach gives you the time to think through a personalized gift, without scrambling at the last minute. 

We all love gifts. We love receiving them, and we love giving them, too. Making gifts part of your business strategy to build and strengthen relationships with clients and partners can make a significant difference. So start working on that plan, identifying gifts that fit the recipient, and finding the perfect time to make a big impression! 


GoSmallBiz offers small business consulting, CEO advice, and an extensive online learning center for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The mission of is simple – to improve the lives of its customers and give them a better chance at success. The GoSmallBiz business specialists have hundreds of years of combined business experience in both private and public companies, and represent all major industries and professions, including CPAs and specialists in finance, sales, marketing, HR, IT, and operations.