Who says businesses shouldn't get holiday presents? Chances are, your business needs a few special items just as much as you need that new purse or fancy Kindle Fire HD. If you're a small business owner or a solopreneur, set aside a little cash this year to buy your business a few much-needed gifts. After all, it's important to show your employees and clients how much you care.
1. Updated security programs
When's the last time you updated your network security? If you're running the majority of your small business from a laptop, are you still only using the antivirus program that came with your computer?
Start shopping around for a better security solution, and remember that a good security program offers a multi-faceted approach. TrendMicro.com notes that the best security solutions for virtual environments provide “anti-malware, intrusion detection and prevention, firewall, web application protection, integrity monitoring, and log inspection.” Wouldn't your small business love to see that all wrapped up under the tree?
2. Energy-efficient lighting
Your business doesn't like seeing you get cranky under unnatural lights. It's time to outfit your office with some natural, energy-efficient options. Check out the Eco-Office Gals' ranking of top energy-efficient lighting options, and deck your halls with new, improved lighting!
3. A new team member
Remember how excited you were to come downstairs and find a brand-new puppy wearing a bright red bow? Your business will be just as happy to meet its new best friend: the new team member that you hire on in 2014. If you're running a small business, you're probably wearing way too many hats, and at least one of those hats will look better on someone else. Evaluate your finances and your needs, and either hire on a full-time staff member, a part-time helper, or a single-use consultant, such as the graphic designer who's going to fix your logo or the CPA who's going to help you save hundreds of dollars on your taxes.
4. Greenery and plant life
Look around your office or workspace. What do you see? Is there anything green? If not, it's time to add some plant life. Winter may seem like the wrong time of year to begin planting, but there are plenty of ways to start a winter window box full of beautiful plants and bushes that'll keep you going until it's time for spring.
If you do a lot of work at home, and if you have the space available, consider creating an office pod in your backyard, surrounded by a garden. Eco-Office Gals have a few great ideas to get you started. Beautiful plants and flowers are a long-standing holiday gift tradition, so don't leave your small business out: give it a few lovely green plants to boost the mood and improve air quality.
5. New toys
You never get too old to enjoy new toys, and neither does your small business. Think about all of the fun office toys that you can use to improve your productivity and your business output, from a bouncy exercise ball to a new set of funky, colorful inkpens. Go ahead and buy everything you think your business has always wanted, and don't be afraid to go big: that recycle bin shaped like a TARDIS will make you smile every time you use it, after all.
As you begin your holiday shopping for friends and relatives, don't forget to buy a few gifts for your small business. Your business has been working hard all year long, and deserves a few tokens of appreciation. Whether you sign on a virtual assistant or buy your office a series of hanging pansy pots, these types of gifts are really the kind of gifts that keep on giving: first to your business, and then back to you. Happy holidays!