Top 10 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Family Business Owner (aka mom & dad)

Christmas_presents_2416800bYou love your mom and dad. They gave birth to you, raised you with an entrepreneurial spirit and have created or sustained your family business with the hope that one day you might take it over. You want to take care of them as they exit the business to savor the fruits of their (your) labor. If you are like many other businesses, perhaps the last few years have stalled your succession plan or maybe they just enjoy working (read: seeing YOU work) so much they seem to be in no hurry to leave. Here are a few creative gift ideas for the upcoming holiday season that might help them ease out the door a little sooner.

  1. A new business: Invoke their entrepreneurial spirit and stimulate their creative juices once again while creating space at the top for yourself. BizBuySell is one of the internets’ largest databases of businesses and franchises for sale. Its alliance with the Wall Street Journal guarantees credibility and all transactions are confidential.  NOTE: You may find yourself working in this new business sooner than you think so choose wisely.
  1. Daily retirement account email reminders:If there is an actual retirement account in place, a daily reminder email may certainly help influence your parents to begin tapping into it before it dries up completely. Retirement Plan Daily is a free resource for individual retirement plan participants who are seeking advice, information, and up to the minute regulatory information for their plans. Emails sold separately via Constant Contact. CAUTION: This may backfire and keep your parents working longer in the hopes of beefing up their retirement savings.
  1. Kinect by X-BoxLet’s face it, we ALL want one of these. When I was first introduced to on-screen video games, I nearly dropped out of college. The Kinect can be operated without joysticks or additional accessories insuring added simplicity. Research has shown that video games may be the new fountain of youth, improving memory and cognitive skills, not to mention the added physical element of games centers like Kinect, Wii and PlayStation Move. With the right collection of recent releases you might never see your parents at the business again! Consider any one of the three versions of Rock Band and you are guaranteed to awaken their once dormant childhood rock star dreams. AVOID: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare or Saw II unless specifically requested.
  1. PARscription© TOP-FLITE® Golf Ball Set: This subtle reminder that golf is the right prescription for rest and relaxation should help mom or dad get out on the links more. Combined with the right travel package (see gift #4) this gift should free up their much needed office space. GUARANTEED: Christmas delivery with no rush fees!
  1. A new hobby: Most business owners fear leaving their business for one simple reason – nothing else to do. When presented with alternative time consuming activities and causes, this may be the right gift to help them realize there is life beyond the walls of the office. Rotary International boasts over 33,000 clubs worldwide and work to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto Service Above Self. Many cities have active mall walkers groups, mentoring groups (Ithaca Youth Bureau in CNY), or SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) chapters.  Finally, never underestimate how time consuming a new Facebook page could be. WARNING: They may simply choose to “Facebook” at work and NEVER leave.
  1. A gift card to their estate planning lawyer that expires on December 31, 2015. Locally in Ithaca, New York, we suggest Shaw & Murphy, PLLC.
  1. One-way airline ticket: Nothing quite says “Don’t hurry back” like a one way ticket to their dream is your source for the best one-way airfare deals. For a special senior discount use coupon code: SRC14.
  1. Hire a non-family CEO: Quite often the most difficult decision a parent needs to make in a family business is which child is best suited to run the family business after they depart. Take matters into your own hands and remove the emotional drama for all involved. Non-family executives tend to regard their respective firms positively and are essential to the health and continuity of a family owned business. Prior to hiring, however, consider reading More Than Family: Non-Family Executives in the Family Business.
  1. Grandchildren: It might be a little late to start for this holiday season, but consider a speedy adoption in time for Christmas (just kidding, really) or start planning ahead for a natural childbirth next year. IMPORTANT: Orders must be in placed no later than March 31, 2014 to insure a safe and timely delivery.
  1. A parking meter for dad’s parking spacePOM is family owned and has been in business since 1935. All meters are made entirely within the US. With hundreds of thousands of electronic meters installed worldwide, POM is best known for its dedication to quality and customer satisfaction. A standard model will cost $350; allow approximately $180 for the pole and installation. POM states orders placed today will arrive in time for Christmas. BONUS: The parking meter can become an added revenue stream if dad and/or mom refuses to leave, assisting with the eventual purchase of the company.

Whatever you decide to get mom and dad for this Christmas or holiday, remember the best gift of all is time spent with the ones we love and remembering all you have to be thankful for.

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