The Art of Giving: In Business & In Life

Do you remember the last time someone gave you an unexpected gift or did something nice for you out of the blue? How did it make you feel? Did it change your view of that person and did it make you want to reciprocate?

I’d say most people would say it made them feel special and made them want to return the gesture at a minimum in kind, but usually 10 fold.

So if we all know this to be true, why don’t more people treat the people around them in this way? More importantly, why don’t people treat their customers like this?

A simple little thing like a thank you card, product samples, a free training, or even a discount on a customers birthday makes such a big difference. If you’re a smaller company and you can’t afford to give your clients something that costs money, how about a free training program either online or in person at your location? For example, if you own a shoe store, you could do a training on the proper way to lace your shoe laces so your feet are comfortable when running or hiking.

Apple does a wonderful job of this with their “free” group trainings in the Apple stores. While they’re not exactly “free” as their computers cost more than PCs, they are smart enough to work this into the cost and then market it as part of the package as an added value. PCs, on the other hand, don’t even offer this as an option. Little things like this build huge brand loyalty for Apple and their clients become strong advocates for the brand!

Another great way to apply this principle is to think about a company, group, or organization that you’d like to partner or cross-promote with that you may think is out of your league because they are larger or more established than you are. Rather than approaching them and saying, “Hey, let’s do a cross-promotion” or saying “Hey we want to partner with you,” contact them instead and say, “Hey, I see you have a promotion or an event coming up, how can I help?” and really mean it. It’s so rare that people reach out to help that when you do, most people will be thrilled that you’ve offered! It’s a great way to build up rapport and to develop a long-term relationship. Then, when you need help or have an event coming up, they’ll be more than happy to return the favor.

While I’m using examples of how this can work in your business, this can be applied to life as well. You never know when helping someone carry something heavy up and down the subway steps or to and from a plane may turn into a friendship, relationship, or even a job! Doing nice things for the people at your local deli, drycleaners, restaurant, or gym will have a lasting effect and will change the way you’re treated every time you walk in as they will always remember you as the nice person who did “x”. Even if “x” is just giving them a compliment on what they are wearing or for having a nice smile. We’ve turned into a busy, driven, self-serving culture with blinders and we often forget about the people around us.

Below, I’ll show you how easy it is to apply these principles to your life/business. Just make sure when you’re going through this exercise that you’re giving to give, not with the intention of getting something in return.

Alright, on to the fun stuff!

Action Plan:

Each day this week do something nice and out-of-the-ordinary, and observe the impact it has on your life. To make it easier, write out a list of potential people and actions, and then schedule a task each day in your calendar. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Take someone to lunch and commend them for a great job done or to thank them for being a great friend
  2. Buy someone a thank you card or gift
  3. Help someone you don’t know carry something heavy
  4. Call or e-mail a company or organization you’d like to partner with and ask them how you can help them
  5. Call or e-mail a friend or client you haven’t spoken to in a long time and tell them you were thinking about them and wanted to see how things were going
  6. Give a staff member at your drycleaners / gym / or deli a compliment


Then, make it a habit of doing this at least once a week. If you’re super busy, set a reminder in your calendar for a certain day each week and keep a list of potential good deeds. The effects of such small gestures will be long-lasting and will completely change your life.

Here’s to your success in everything you do,


P.S. If you found this information helpful, like, comment and share! Sharing helpful content is the best way to support and grow our entrepreneurial community. 🙂

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