It’s both easier and harder to be an entrepreneur than ever before. The barriers to entry are lower, but the competition is fiercer. Here are a few holiday gifts to help the aspiring entrepreneur in your life get a leg up on the competion.
• The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. How to test your startup idea with limited resources, and shorten the incubation period of your business idea.
• Steve Jobs. This biography of the Apple founder, by Walter Isaacson, offers a frank and nuanced account of Jobs’ life and work.
• The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. A neat book about how powerfully we form habits and create routines.
• BUMP. A digital business card you exchange by bumping cellphones with your contact. Fun and useful! And free. Available for iPhone and Android.
• Square. Square is a payment system that allows users to pay by simply swiping their phone. Invaluable for small businesses who want to accept credit cards but don’t yet have the capacity. Merchants pay a 2.75% fee on transactions.
• iThoughtsHD. iThoughts is a neat iPad app (also available for iPhone) for mindmapping and brainstorming. It allows creative thinkers to doodle and brainstorm on the go, in a more permanent format than a paper napkin.
• Digital subscriptions to their favourite mags. Your budding businessperson probably logs a lot of travel mileage en route to meetings. Find out what kind of digital reader they have and select a few good business titles to make their commute informative and interesting.
• A gift card to their nearest purveyor of office supplies. They’ll be grateful when their supplies of liquid paper run low.
• A coffee card. Every sleepless entrepreneur needs coffee. If they don’t drink coffee, they can always buy coffees for clients. But what kind of businessperson doesn’t drink coffee?