In our first of its kind holiday gift guide we thought of everything that the small-business owner or entrepreneur should have. Then, we threw in a few items for that entrepreneur who seems to have everything. In this list, you'll find gadgets that will help increase productivity, make business travel just a bit more enjoyable and help that business owner achieve better work-life balance.
It isn’t easy to tell someone to get Square (they might take it the wrong way). But this device, by SquareUp.com might save your business friend or family member a lot of time, money and effort. This simple, elegant card reader allows them to use a smartphone to process credit cards on the go. No cash register required. Cost: Free, though you'll be charged 2.75 percent of every transaction.
iPhone 4S With Siri
Voice recognition has been around a long time, so the new Siri seems to be just keeping up. But from everyone I talked to, Siri is a game-changer. The technology does more than just dictate your verbal commands into text; it understands what you say and mean. It learns from you as you use it and completes your requests. Watch this video to see it in action. Cost: From $199
ioSafe Rugged Portable Hard Drive
This portable hard drive is one of my favorites. First, it has been proven to take a beating and withstand just about any natural disaster you could imagine. Second, it's invincible, just like most good small-business owners. Cost: From $110
Veho Pebble Pro Portable Battery Pack
This portable battery pack is a terrific way to extend the charge on your devices and laptop when you need more juice. It is an affordable alternative to purchasing an additional battery for just one device, too. It comes with lots of adapters to suit most connections and is pretty sleek looking, to boot. Cost: From $100
The Glif is a simple, elegant and useful tripod mount and stand for the iPhone 4 and 4S, brought to you by the same Studio Neat team that is producing the Cosmonaut—a wide stylus pen for iPad and tablet users. If you’ve struggled to mount your iPhone for any sort of photo or video use, you’ll love this thing. Cost: $20
Bone Ninja 4GB USB Drive
A relatively inexpensive, just-for-fun item, for that tough, radical entrepreneur who has a startup in stealth mode, this Ninja USB thumbdrive is just the ticket. Cost: From $20
Another affordable little creation, the Budwrap is a silicon bracelet that can help you organize the pesky earbuds you probably have for an iPod or music player. Cost: $15
YogaForce A-Line Mat
If you’re into yoga and you want to stay in proper form, then you’ll want to check out the YogaForce A-Line Mat. Cost: $79
HD Helmet Video Camera By Contour
While this mountable HD helmet video camera from Contour might seem like a toy for adventure sports enthusiasts, I believe it has plenty of applications for the business owner who wants to get into hands-free tutorial videos. You can mount it easily onto any helmet and use it in a variety of settings. Cost: From $199
LunaTik is a watch band that holds the iPod Nano. If your business-owner friends listen to podcasts as a way to continue their marketing education or keep up with business news, then this sophisticated band is just the thing they need. Cost: From $80 (minus the iPod Nano)
Minty Boost From Adafruit
Want to increase the life of your iPod or mobile phone but don't want to pay a bunch for a special new battery? Build your own with an old Altoids tin from the famous DIY site, Adafruit.com. It is called the Minty Boost, and thousands of people around the world have them stashed in their bag. Note: You have to build it yourself; Adafruit provides just the kit. Cost: $20
Yes, like many of the devices here, the Kindle Fire is a well-known consumer item. However, just think of having a few of these in a training setting for a growing business. Rather than force employees to sit at a screen, they could watch training videos or quickly check e-mail while out on a warehouse floor. It won’t be long before someone creates a rubberized case to protect it in different work environments. Or just use Sugru, the silicone rubber wonder compound to add your own protective corners. Cost: From $199 (Sugru Starter Pack, from $18)
Some of the coolest new devices, gadgets and add-ons are coming from Kickstarter.com, with its powerful crowdfunding platform. Peruse this list of amazing examples.