How to deal with friends that don’t support your business idea
Updated: Apr 30, 2021
You’ve launched your business idea and have started rolling out your products/service, that’s fantastic, and as someone who has a network of family and friends, it’s natural to assume that they will want to support your idea, engage with your posts, buy your product, promote you on social media etc. etc.… But what do you do when that expectation is not being met, and feelings of resentment start kicking in. Below are some key things to explore to help you navigate through these questions.
Are your friends/family your consumers?
I think this is a very important question to think about. If your product is aimed at boat lovers, and none of your friends have even been on a boat, then you might want to cut them some slack. Besides it’s better to focus your time on connecting with your target audience than to push something onto your family/friends, because although the feedback you’ll get from those close to you will most likely be positive and biased, it won’t necessarily be constructive, meaning you will struggle to scale up your business as you aren’t developing your brand the way you should be.
On the other hand, maybe your family/friends are a part of your target audience, but for some reason they aren’t compelled to promote or buy your product. This itself can also be feedback, because it can be a sign that you genuinely still have work to do in terms of resonating with your audience. Keep at it and in due time they will approach you organically (as a paying customer) and it’s at that point you will discover how much growth you’ve been through as a business owner.
Are your expectations different from their own in terms of support?
Support comes in many different forms including:
Emotional support when you need to vent
Moral support when you fear going somewhere alone
Business advice when you need to understand taxes
A friend covering your shift so you can go to that networking event or exhibition show
Industry advice if you want to understand marketing or sales
A free service such as proofreading or babysitting
Someone lending you an outfit or an item
Someone letting you use their log-in details, so you can have access to a particular service
A heads up on something that would be of interest to you
This list can go on and on…..
Without realising it, you may already be receiving some of the ideas mentioned above or similar. Launching your own business is hard, and inevitably you will be seeking some form of support from someone. If your family/friends are already providing this kind of help for free, it is worth taking note of and appreciating. As the saying goes, no man is an island.
Can the other person realistically carry out the task that you would like them to do?
Can your mum use social media in the way you would like her to? Does your sister understand how creating a buzz works? Can your close cousin afford to buy the £50 pampering set you have presented? Does your neighbour support the use of plastic packaging? Can your male friend promote your bra business on their Instagram page? Does your colleague have the guts to stand in a crowd of her peers and talk about your brand? People can only do what they can only do, be it physically or mentally, or even in terms of brand coherence.
Whilst I do appreciate obvious factors such as jealousy or fear as being reasons why family or friends may not be supportive of your business, but those are their shortcomings. The only person you can control is yourself, and the prompts mentioned above are tools and perspectives designed to help you push past these difficult situations.
When starting a business, you will experience many emotions and whirlwinds and you may be tempted to want to “drop” people who appear to be haters. But if you explore the above questions against your business and your relationships, you may find that there it is actually yourself that you are fighting and not those who close to you.
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