December traditionally looks like the time to offer presents to your loved ones. Or the time to offer your employees a company dinner. In Switzerland, this business (yearly company dinners) is particularly big. And it is often excessive, at least in the watch-making industry where I’ve heard that companies sometimes spent as much as CHF 300.- per employee only for the decoration… Kind of obscene? Yup… At least, that provide a good business for caterers and decorators (rather than cash staying in the bank)!
Do you need to compete with this as a startup? No. Or if your employees expect something similar, you probably have hired the wrong ones (it was probably frequent before the internet bubble in 2001, but no more now). Then, how can you be attractive as a startup with rewards?
First, a friendly company dinner is necessary. A good cheese fondue for instance is great for team building! And you can also decide to organize it ways more often than once a year. Successful Swiss e-commerce entrepreneur Pascal Meyer told me last week that he and his 41 employees at QoQa are extreme fans of the apero and they do quite a lot (alongside hard work).It doesn’t have to be once year – seize every opportunity to celebrate with your team. There are so many « down’s » in the life of a startup that you should never forget to celebrate the « up’s ». But you still need to keep in mind 2 of the most important rules in a startup (IMHO):
- Don’t be too enthusiastic and over-excited! As long as it is not realized, lot of things can still happen… even after a « OK » or the signing of an agreement.
- Keep your ability to be enthusiastic! Otherwise you’ll get bored or depressive…
Secondly, you’re often exposed to a lot of interesting (and less interesting) goodies when you’re attending tech events. For instance, I’ve brought back an universal plug for each member of my team (thanks to a famous CMS provider)… But this is just an example and you can find/build plenty of creative goodies, that serve your marketing goals.
Here is how…
You may have heard about 3D printing? How about printing cool 3D objects with the logo of your company and offering it to your employees/customers/suppliers/investors? Cups of coffee, bottle openers, key holder or business card holders? Some (cups, bottle openers) can remind people your brand during break or party times… Business card holder doesn’t seem cool for your employees. But they can be a clever, non intrusive goodie to offer your customers (or potential customers): if they use it. Every time they seize one business card on their desk, they get reminded of your brand. It seems silly, but can be particularly useful if you have a long sales cycle time.
You can also turn your customers/suppliers/investors into ambassadors of your brand. Go beyond the t-shirt or sweatshirt (even if it’s cool!). What is the most visible, frequently used item nowadays (24/7 or so…)? Smartphones. Yes, smartphones are everywhere and very visible, especially if you’re using public transportation. You may think: “This time, Seb, you’re definitely crazy. Offering a customized smartphone to each of my employee/partners?”. No, I’m not (hum…). You’ve seen that smartphones are more and more delicate. And that lot of people are buying a protecting case. These cases are expensive for standard products. How about customizing such cases with the brand of your company at a decent prize?
I’ve recently met the startup Cuboyo, who is active in 3D printing, which has developed such an offering. And it’s really cool… I’ve launched the production for my team and me, rather than changing my case for a standard product. Every team member seems to find it really cool and useful. What do you think?
As it’s almost Christmas time, I’ve negotiated a special DISCOUNT of 10% for you. Go on their website and use the following code to get your discount (will be valid until Christmas only): CUBOYOLIC
Here is an example of the smartphone case for my own startup, Coteries:
But there is a lot of choices (9 colours, different case structures, etc.).