3 January 2023


Amy Parfett


Nine gifts to give a business founder this year (that will only cost your time).

It's a new year. And for many of us, these early weeks mark a magical period of the 12 month calendar when we're feeling most hopeful and most motivated to be our best selves. 

To this, many would argue that being your best self means helping others in meaningful ways. We'd tend to agree. 

2022 was for a lot of people a year of of recovery, adjustments and new challenges. And for many - us included - it was a year that cemented the collective lightbulb realisation brought on by the pandemic: that we’re nothing without community and connection.

In the spirit of this (that is, recognising the impact of supporting one another), it’s worth asking the question this what actually constitutes a good gift? And the answer might lie closer to home than you think.

We surveyed 500+ people via Gravy and found that 71% of people would happily receive a gift of human time and effort. The great thing? Gifts of human time are often disproportionately valuable in comparison to traditional gifts.

And when it comes to helping someone who is launching or building a business, nothing could be more true.

Ask any founder what they value most from the people surrounding them and the answer is likely two-fold:

1) Support and belief, and,

2) The willingness to roll up one’s sleeves and help them bring their brilliant business idea to the world.

And with this in mind, here are nine gifts to give a founder or business builder this year that might not cost you a cent - just your own time and good will.


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1. Make an introduction to someone that could help solve a roadblock

It could making an intro to someone who can advise on a particular area that the founder has been struggling with, for example recruiting or fundraising. Or it could be an intro to a potential investor, business partner or client. The etiquette here of course is to ensure that the intro isn’t entirely unsolicited (check with the person you’re planning to intro the founder to that they’re on board first). Once you’ve got the green light, clearly outline why you’ve made the introduction and what you believe the founder will be able to gain from this new relationship.


2. Pass on a business book that helped you

Giving someone a book is a physical transfer of knowledge and ideas. If there’s a particular piece of literature that you own - whether business-based or just a wonderful example of thought-provoking writing (or escapism), consider gifting it to a founder that could benefit from what’s between the covers.


3. Give your time in your area of expertise 

It could be providing some help on a go-to-market strategy, a social media plan, guidance on how to reduce tech-debt for the future roadmap, help defining an internal process, or a couple of hours drilling down into unit economics or a business model. Think about where your skills lie and offer to share those proficiencies with a founder that you know will appreciate it.


4. Give the founder's business a surprise shout-out on LinkedIn or social media

We all recognise the efficacy of word-of-mouth - so why not step into that power and give a founder’s business a digital shout-out? Whether that’s on LinkedIn, across your own social media or any other channels that make sense (e.g. private groups or forums you’re a part of), this is one of the most meaningful gifts you could give any business owner: the gift of organic, qualified reach.


5. Schedule in a monthly pow-wow

We can (almost) guarantee that this will be a calendar highlight: a regular commitment to get together for a coffee, a drink or a walk and discuss anything that’s pressing. The founder road can be very lonely at times and a scheduled get-together not only serves to ease this but also can be a wonderful motivator to make progress on anything discussed before the next month rolls around.


6. Give the founder’s platform an audit

It could be an audit of a business’ onboarding experience, social media channels or a particular function of the business. Offer to put your customer hat on, test out the user experience and provide generous, detailed feedback on things you think work and could be improved. In the efforts to keep progress moving forward, taking the time to stop and review what’s already in the market can feel like a dead weight for founders and we all know that so much of a products success lies in the delivery, so this is a gift that will be hugely appreciated.


7. Cook them a freezer meal for a tough day

Lord knows, the last thing you want after a long day filled with 50 challenges (49 of which are things you’ve never done before) is to whip up a nutritious, home-cooked dinner for yourself or the fam. Gifting a freezer meal you’ve pre-prepared to a founder is the edible epitome of “I see you, you’re doing great, keep going, I’m here for you”. And speaking from our own experience, acts of service and acknowledgement of the journey is truly a founder’s love language.


8. A virtual pat on the back

Take 10 minutes to message a founder some heartfelt words of encouragement. Some thought-starters for you? Tell them what they did in 2022 that impressed you/made you reconsider a belief you had/challenged your thinking/gave you a tingle/made you want to empty your coffers into their bank account/gave you a sense of gratitude. Consider this a sign to go and love them up. They probably need it and they’ll love you back for it.


9. Create them a 'Business Shower' gift collection

We do it for new babies - that is, create a 'Baby Shower' gift collection of thoughtful, helpful items to help a new parent on their journey. And speaking from experience (both of running a business and parenting children), the act of launching and building a business is in many ways equally intensive and emotionally high-stakes as welcoming a family member. 

The ultimate act of support for your friend or family working on their own business? Create them a gift collection (it's free). Simply add any or all of the gifts above and invite your founder's friends, family and peers to contribute to it in any way they choose. 



Ready to create a 'Business Shower' for someone you know that's working on a business? Perhaps it's yourself? Get started here (it's totally free).

Want to create a gift collection for yourself or someone else for a birthday, baby shower, thank you, farewell, anniversary or *just because*? Create the most meaningful group gifting collection here.