Starting a business with support from your loved ones can make all the difference in its ultimate success. Sure, you may be able to go it alone, but your chance of succeeding is much greater when you have the help of those who matter to you the most. The following is a list of steps that will help you gain the support of your friends and family.
- Educate them about the business. If you sense some skepticism from your loved ones, it may simply be because they don’t know what exactly you’ll be doing. Talk about the industry itself and what you will be contributing to it by starting the business. What unique qualities do you have or what novel ideas have you come up with that will give you an edge over your competitors? Make sure you answer their questions as specifically as you can to not only educate them, but also to demonstrate your own expertise.
- Tell them exactly what kind of help you need. Some people just need the peace of mind that their friends and family will provide them with moral support and encouragement. Others may need physical help to set up a retail space, for example. Still others may need financial help or even just some assistance spreading the word about the new business. Tell your loved ones what you need and how exactly it will help your business. It is so often the case that friends and family members want to reach out and help, but don’t know what they can do.
- Put their referrals first. Did your mom refer her friend from her book club? Is your newest customer your best friend’s landlord? Make referrals that come from friends and family your top priority. Think of them as having VIP status with you; if your referrals feel appreciated and important because they “know the owner,” they will be eager to talk about your business with their friends and family, and provide you with even more referrals.
- Show your appreciation for their help. Gratitude can be shown in a myriad of ways. The most important thing is to be sincere. Consider taking them out for a nice meal and making a thoughtful toast, sending them a gift basket with all their favorite goodies, or spending the time to write a handwritten note or letter telling them how much their support means to not only your business but to you personally.
- Go above and beyond their expectations. Find ways, both big and small, to exceed the expectations of your friends and family members. They are the most important people in your life, so make the effort to show them in both your personal and professional life. Don’t take their support for granted; no one is obligated to help you just because of your relationship with them. Your efforts to go above and beyond will likely not go unnoticed, and you’ll feel good about doing right by those you care about.
- Remember that relationships come first. Whatever you do, don’t let your business get in the way of your relationships. There may be times when you feel disappointed that someone hasn’t supported you in the way you had anticipated. Not everyone will be able to help you for a variety of reasons. Maintain the relationship regardless; your loved ones should come first in your life.
Having the support of friends and family is something we all want when it comes to big decisions, like starting a business. Be informative, unafraid to ask for help, and willing to return the favor. How do you enlist the help of your loved ones? Please share your ideas below!