Business Etiquette 101: Growing your Business Beyond Family and Friends
Starting and growing a business requires dedication, hard work, and an unwavering commitment to success. It’s no easy feat! It’s only natural to ask for support from the people closest to you—your family and friends. We have all been there at one point or another: asking family and friends for support business ventures, whether it’s starting a blog or a podcast, venturing off into an entrepreneurial journey, or even starting a new career. After all, they’re your support system.
However, constant reliance on them for you to succeed is not the route you should tale. Unless you are starting a family business, it is crucial to understand that though family and friends will support your endeavors in their own way but the success of your brand and business falls on you and your team of professionals. Relying on family and friends to grow your business venture—unless they are your business partner—may not be the best business strategy.
First and foremost, they are NOT your target audience. When you start your business or your brand, you identify a need or a problem to be solved with your service or product. Though you hope for the support of your nearest and dearest, it is not for them that you started your business or brand. You have an audience in mind and all your strategies from branding to marketing are geared towards said audience. It’s the same reason why you shouldn’t be offended if they don’t follow you on your social media platforms or subscribe to your newsletter. They can be proud of you and cheer you on but they don’t have to partake in your goods and services. Your business caters to your audience. That’s who you should be tracking down and engaging.
Biased opinions, limited network and expertise, strained relationships, and lack of professionalism are other reasons to consider.
Biased opinions: Business advice from family and friends can often be biased. Because they want you to succeed, their opinions may be skewed. They may tell you what we want to hear instead of what you need to hear. Honest feedback is needed to grow your business. Oftentimes, their reassurances—as well meaning as they are— can lead to a false sense of security and success, which can eventually lead to failure.
Limited network and expertise: Business and brand growth often requires access to a broad network of potential customers, clients, partners, and investors. If your family and friends do not have access to such a network, then relying on them to help your business grow limits your opportunities. In the same token, growing your business requires expertise in different areas such as marketing, operations, communication, research, and finance. Unless family and friends are experts in these areas, their advice may not be useful in achieving your mission, vision, and goals.
Strained relationships: Growing your business can be stressful, relying too heaving on family and friends for support can lead to strained relationships with them. Your loved ones may feel overwhelmed or burdened by your business demands. This can lead to tension and conflict, ultimately harming your personal relationships. On the flipside, they can start asking you for favors such as family discounts for all the support that they’ve given. It would be challenging to say no to them, which can also lead to further strained relationships.
Lack of Professionalism: Maintaining professionalism is essential to growing a business. Relying on your family and friends for business support blurs the lines between personal and professional relationships. This can lead to conflict and make it difficult to maintain the necessary level of professionalism, harming your reputation and hindering your growth as a business and a brand.
While your family and friends are a great source of support and encouragement, it is not always best practice to rely on them to grow your business and brand. This can lead to many challenges including biased opinions, limited network and expertise, strained relationships, lack of professionalism—all of which can hinder rather than help your business growth. Instead, create a business plan, seek expert advice, and build a diverse network targeting your audience. This way, you’ll find the balance between growing your business and maintaining strong relationships with your loved ones.