What to give a best friend for their new business?
October 26, 2010 1:51 AM   Subscribe

Mrs. Killaseal's best friend started a business less than a year ago (so far, so good). Mrs. K would like nothing more than to be able to assist best friend at the new business (food industry), but distance we live apart will not permit that, so that is out. So, we would like to give her a nice gift to congratulate her. Mrs. K wants to know, should we buy her an actual item (or items), in the 200-300 dollar range, or should we just give her a nice card with equivalent cash, since every budding entrepreneur could probably use the extra cash to help out with the new business? Mrs. K worries that although they are best friends, cash might still be tacky.

Background: They've been friends since 2nd grade, mid 30's now, but they still fight over who pays the check when they go out to eat together. I've known best friend for well over a decade now, and imho, she is truly "good people". Mrs. K really wants to give her the cash, but worries that it just might be too darn tacky despite their best friend status; on the other hand, she's reluctant to buy a gift, because she worries that best friend would probably be better off with the cash, wish she could use on her budding business, herself, or however she sees fit. Also, we are going to best friend's part of the planet next month, so we will be delivering said gift, whatever we decide, in person (we are staying at her place while we are there).
posted by KillaSeal to Human Relations (8 answers total)
Well maybe she could ask friend "I'm going to buy you a 'Yay, you've started your business present! What could your business most use? If you don't tell me, you'll end up with something less useful and you know it." My best friend since 3rd grade, mid-30s now, used this approach when I bought a new car. The thought of those car seat covers still makes me smile.
posted by bardophile at 2:31 AM on October 26, 2010

Giving a gift or cash can and probably would be construed as an insulting conciliatory gesture from a more successful, but well-intentioned friend; Instead, write her a check and frame this as a small, yet confident, investment in her budding business.
posted by biggity at 2:39 AM on October 26, 2010

Can you get her something that is useful , but that she wouldn't otherwise spend money on? Like a really nice quality pen, for example. Maybe engraved with "Good luck! From Mrs K" or something.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:44 AM on October 26, 2010

As someone who is in year 2 of a small business that is now economically doing well, exceeding what I earned at any full time job but I struggle wtih day to day stuff pluis I haven't figured out some of the "how to run" a business stuff (like taxes, oh no, like taxes).

Has your wife talked to your friend about the ins and outs of the business? Enough to know if she is 1) making money, 2) paying for an accountant/taxes, or 3) to know abou the things that she wants to do or learn about with her business?

Along those lines, in the beginning, I did not want to pay for things that would really help me start a business correctly (like accounting/taxes), but at the time I did not want to spend $ on it. Now I don't have the $%@# time to look into it. So if I could go back in time, a gift such as "we purchased XX hours with an accountant" or "we are paying towards an accountant" would have helped me rationalize to pay for it and really, really helped me....okay tjhat's my business., but if it resonates with any conversation your wife has had with her friend, it may be a place to put the $ towards a gift.

The other challenge may be lack of time. Are there things that she talks about wanting to do but doesn't have teh time or the money and/or expertise? Maybe it is as simple as writing a linkedin profile or paying for an ad somewhere. If you know what that is, $ towards it and even offering to do it and/or start the paperwork. Is there any great skill that your wife has that her friend does not yet have for her business (even an online webpage?). Something like this would provide something that the business needed ,yet it would be flattering if a friend did it.

$ isn't always bad, either. You could always pitch it as (not now, but later) as "we want to invest in your business" A good friend of mine had a friend do that for him years ago and it gave him the flexibility to invest in something and he loves reporting back to his friend as to how the investment part is going. But investing in the business (to me) seems a litle more powerful "we believe in you, we believe in your business, we want to invest it in and we believe we will get this $ back"
posted by Wolfster at 4:23 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

I had a friend who started her own business a year ago. Her sister bought her a few months worth of housecleaning by a cleaning service as a present. My friend loved it! It wasn't that she was overly messy or anything, but she could devote more time to her business now that she didn't have to worry about her house as much (and she could occasionally take a break).

I'm not saying you should buy your friend a maid, but maybe something like that, that would be useful, but not directly related to the business? A few weeks worth of meals from a private chef? A membership to a nice yoga studo?
posted by bluefly at 7:32 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Gift card to Costco/Best Buy/Office Depot/BevMo with a great card and beautiful flowers?
posted by thatone at 10:53 AM on October 26, 2010

When i was just starting out, 110% of everything, all the time, went to the business. All my time, from the moment i woke up to the moment i went to bed, it was all about THE BUSINESS. I don't know if your friend is this way, but if she is, she's probably not taking any time for herself.

How about giving something that she can enjoy for herself, and absolutely has no value other than making her feel good? like a spa day, gift certificates for massages, or a bunch of manicure/pedicure treatments?
posted by ChefJoAnna at 11:19 AM on October 26, 2010

Response by poster: ok, after much thought and hand-wringing, Mrs. K decided to go with a gift card to one of best friends favorite clothing stores (100) and 200 in cash, with a lovely card and hand-written message. Best friend didn't want to accept such a large amount of cash at first, but Mrs. K quickly convinced her to just take it. In the end, it all worked out well.
posted by KillaSeal at 4:22 PM on December 1, 2010

« Older Corporo-cracy? No...   |   Pro and cons of children's tonsillectomies? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.