The excitement of starting a new business is something that has to be experienced to truly appreciate. Generating your first sale is a once-in-a-lifetime feeling that most entrepreneurs remember for the remainder of their journey. Often, that first sale is from friends and family who are eager to see that person succeed. In fact, the customer base of many new businesses is often the friends and family of the business owners. As an entrepreneur, it is reasonable to expect this to happen.
However, there are times when the support of the people closest to you seems strangely absent. As an entrepreneur, you may be curious or even hurt by the lack of support for your business by your friends. But sometimes, your friends have a good reason for not supporting your business. They saying mixing business and friendship is dangerous. This can be true even if they friends are not in business together. We will look at 7 reasons why your friends are not supporting your business.
You Haven’t Asked Them
A simple, yet often overlooked reason why friends might not be supporting your business: you haven’t asked them. It seems like such a simple thing to do that many new entrepreneurs do not take this important step. This happens for various reasons. Perhaps the entrepreneur assumes their friends are not interested. Another reason is that they fear rejection. This not only happens to new entrepreneurs, but also to new sales professionals.
Other times, the business owner believes their friends should offer support without being asked. However, friends cannot read minds. In fact, they may not even be aware that their support is desired or how they can help.
Open communication is key. It’s important to reach out and express your needs clearly. This doesn’t mean being pushy or overly promotional but rather sharing your passion and explaining how their support could make a difference.
Whether it’s through purchasing your products, sharing your business on social media, or providing feedback, there are numerous ways friends can help. Remember, most friends would be happy to support you, but they need to know you value and desire their help. By not asking, you might be missing out on a valuable support system that’s just waiting to be activated.
They’ve Got Their Own Stuff Going On
One of the other reasons why your friends may not be supporting your business is simply because they have their own stuff going on. Some people expect their friends to drop everything they’re doing to help support them and their business. However, people have increasingly complicated and busy lives. Oftentimes this means that a friend may not be able to attend a promotional event. It may also mean that they may not be able to purchase from you due to their own financial obligations and goals.
If you have a business that has a physical location, expecting your friends to show up frequently to purchase may be asking a lot. Especially if they live across town or it is otherwise inconvenient for them to visit your location. Expecting them to may lead to disappointment or even resenting them for not walking through your doors weekly.
It is important for entrepreneurs to understand that even though your friends want to support your business, it may be difficult for them to do so due to life circumstances. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be able to support you when it is possible. However, it does mean that your business may not be a top priority for them. Try to be sympathetic to their circumstances and never make them feel like they are not good friends.
The last thing you want to do is guilt your friends into supporting your business. You want them to do so out of the goodness of their hearts. Conversely, they do not want to feel forced to support your business when it creates problems for them. This mutual understanding will help keep your relationship stable and will open opportunities for your friends’ support when the time is right for them.
They Aren’t the “Friends” You Believe Them to Be
Sometimes friends don’t support your business simply because they aren’t your “friends”. Before you begin unfriending and unfollowing your social media connections, think about your relationships. Oftentimes, the people we call friends are people that we have a relationship with.
However, that relationship may differ from person to person. Many people assume that just because they know someone that makes them friends in the classic sense. Being able to connect with many people across the world creates the possibility for different types of relationships in work and in life. So who we now call friends may actually be another type of relationship.
There are many different types of friendly relationships. The depth of these relationships often dictates the different responses to life and business events. For example, a friend you’ve known since high school may be there for your wedding and baby shower. But the guy that you worked with 5 years ago and only messages “Happy Birthday” on Facebook once a year probably won’t be there.
The type of relationship will often signify the likelihood of support for your business project.
Here are some types of friendly relationships that are common these days:
- Close Friends: Individuals with whom you share a deep, personal bond; you trust and confide in each other, and your relationship is marked by mutual support, understanding, and emotional intimacy. These people are very likely to support your business if they are able.
- Acquaintances: People you know slightly but who are not close friends; often you share social settings or mutual friends, but not deep personal connections. They may or may not support your business depending on how they feel or their need for what you’re offering
- Work Friends: Colleagues with whom you have friendly interactions primarily in a professional setting; your relationship often revolves around work-related matters. Work friendships can sometimes lead to deeper relationships but not always. These friends will sometimes support your business because you already have a professional relationship with them.
- Casual Friends: Individuals you enjoy spending time with occasionally; you share interests or activities but may not confide in each other about more personal issues.
- One-Sided Friends: A friendship where one person invests more emotional energy or effort than the other, often leading to an imbalance in the relationship. Very unlikely that these friends will support your business.
- Lifelong Friends: Friends who remain close over many years, often since childhood or youth; these relationships endure through various life stages and changes, characterized by a deep understanding and shared history. These friends along with close friends will usually support whatever you do including your business.
Evaluate your relationships and see if your expectations of your friends are not consistent with the depth of your relationships.
They Don’t Need What You’re Selling
One primary reason friends may not support your business is the simple fact that they don’t need what you’re selling. This lack of necessity is a straightforward but often overlooked aspect. For instance, if your product is geared towards parents, but many of your friends are not parents, they won’t have a personal use for what you offer. This situation highlights the importance of distinguishing personal relationships from business ones.
While it’s natural to hope that friends will be your customers, their needs may not align with your product or service. This mismatch is a clear indication that your friends are not your ideal customer base. It’s essential to understand and accept that friendship doesn’t obligate someone to purchase something they don’t need.
This realization should prompt you to refocus your marketing efforts on a target audience that genuinely needs and can benefit from what you offer, rather than relying on friends to support your business out of loyalty.
What You Have Isn’t Good Enough
Another hard truth could be that the quality or appeal of your product or service doesn’t meet your friends’ expectations. However, too many times your friends don’t want to tell you this. And why would they, friends don’t usually want to discourage you.
Friends, especially those who have known you for a long time, might find it challenging to provide honest feedback. Instead, they may just avoid buying or endorsing the product. What looks to be an unsupportive friend may just be one that wants to spare your feelings.
The best thing to do is to create an environment where friends can feel comfortable giving you constructive criticism. If there’s a recurring theme in their feedback suggesting that improvements are needed, it’s an important signal. This feedback is invaluable as it comes from a place of honesty and familiarity. Use it to enhance your product or service.
Remember, the goal is to offer something so compelling that even those who know you best can see its value. Regularly seeking and acting on feedback can significantly improve your offering, making it more appealing not just to friends but to the wider market as well.
They Don’t Believe in What You’re Selling
You may have a lot in common with your friends which makes it easy to talk with them and spend time. However, sometimes friends’ lack of belief in your product or service is another significant reason friends might not support your business. This issue often stems from a mismatch in values or interests. For example, if your product is a luxury good, but your friends are more inclined towards frugality or minimalism, they might not support your business on principle.
It’s important to recognize that everyone has their own set of beliefs and values. These values guide their purchasing decisions. These personal principles can strongly influence whether or not someone chooses to support your business. Understanding and respecting these differences is crucial. It’s not about changing their beliefs, but rather about acknowledging that your friends’ values might not align with your business.
It is VERY important to understand the difference between your friends not believing in what you’re selling and not believing in you. Your friends may have all of the faith in confidence in your ability to grow a successful business. However, if you’re a part of a multi level marketing network, that may not be something they want anything to do with.
They Are Not Your Target Market
Often, entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that their friends are their ideal target market. In reality, this is rarely the case. Friends are a diverse group with varied backgrounds, interests, and financial situations. The odds of all of them being your ideal client are low. While many people’s circle of friends includes people who have the same interests and needs, those interests and needs do not always line up.
Let’s say a college student creates a company aimed at students who live in a dorm. While at the time of the business being launched, the entrepreneur’s target market is his friends in college, after graduation, those friends will have no use for the product or service.
It’s essential to understand that your target market is a specific segment of the population that shares certain characteristics making them more likely to purchase your product or service. These characteristics can include age, interests, hobbies, income level, etc., which might not align with those of your friends.
Recognizing this helps shift your marketing efforts towards the right audience. It’s crucial to conduct thorough market research to identify and understand your real target market. This approach ensures that your marketing strategies and efforts are directed toward people who are most likely to be interested in and benefit from what you’re offering.
Business is important for a lot of people. However, good friendships are hard to come by. As an entrepreneur, you never want your business to negatively impact your friendships. If you find that your friends are not supporting your business, take the time to find out why. It may have nothing to do with you or your business. Navigating this dynamic may help you become a better entrepreneur and friend.