My dad is a bright guy -- he's been feeding me good business ideas for a long time. One of my favorites is something I adopted years ago and has worked incredibly well for me ever since.
That idea? Give Thanksgiving gifts to your clients and vendors. (Don't forget your vendors -- check out my blog articles on working with vendors if you need a refresher.) In the past, I’ve given mugs, specialty coasters, and staplers. One year, I sent everyone jalapeño plants with my company logo on a tin pot. On the other side of the pot, I also branded my non-profit organization, Tree Neutral, since it is a "green" gift. Along with the pot, the soil, and seeds, I also printed a specialty card that fit into the box. I found that you’ll get a better response if you make it a personal gift that is unlike most other holiday gifts.
The idea of a Thanksgiving gift is great for three reasons, all of which are "Blue Ocean" type ideas. First, your gifts will be some of the first gifts received every year. Rather than being one of many that arrive mid-December, your gifts arrive in mid-November in the season of "thanks." They are memorable, if for no other reason than they are arriving before the flood of gifts. Second, it avoids holiday issues. Most of the December holidays are religious in nature and rather than potentially offend or cater to a specific group, you can avoid it all together. The spirit of the gift is simple -- you're thanking everyone for a great year. Third, rather than the traditional holiday gifts of food or other consumables, I suggest giving something that has a good chance of staying on someone's desk for several months.
This trend is growing in popularity, so I figured I'd get on record as being a visionary for it -- even though I stole it from my dad. If you send gifts during the holidays, consider this approach. You'll be surprised how well it works.