The competitive business world is tough, and it can be hard to believe in your friends’ dreams. But we all have friends who have started their own businesses, and we want them to be successful.
We want them to be able to share their work with the world, and we want them to be able to support themselves by doing what they love. We want them to be happy.
So, to support your friends’ business, try these 9 things.
1) Offer Your Time
Offering to help your friend with whatever part of the business he or she needs the most is a great way to support a new business.
For example, if your friend’s needs are web design, you might offer your expert knowledge or skills to help him or her get their website up and running.
Or if your friend needs some money to get off the ground, you might be able to contribute some funds so he or she doesn’t have to start with a negative balance.
2) Give Your Friend Feedback
Feedback can mean a lot of things:
- compliments on a great design
- suggestions for what you’d like to see
- complaints about problems with the product
- criticisms of a performance
- a series of questions to ask
Giving feedback to your friends is not a one-way street; they need to be willing to take feedback in return. I often find it helpful to write out a bullet list of feedback I’d like to see, then put the list into a simple spreadsheet and keep adding to it.
This way I can have a surprisingly good idea of what’s most important to me as a potential customer. And I can take my time and give them advice that is both useful and constructive.
3) Share Your Friends Work
Sharing your friend’s work is the best way to show your support. Tell them you’re excited about what they’re doing and want to see more of it!
Ask them what they’ve written so far about their business. When you read it, critique it. Look for places where they need improvement. Also, Encourage them to submit their work to magazines, publications, or anyone that would publish it
Share their work on social media and share their work as much as you can. Use social media to let your friends know you’re following them, and to comment on their posts. Give them positive feedback but be honest about what you like and don’t like.
4) Invest Financially
Investing is one of the best ways to boost a friend’s business.
One of my best friends, Mike, started his own outdoor adventure when I first moved to Denver. After investing in the business, Mike has had tremendous success. Because I knew Mike is a conscientious steward of money, his company turned a profit.
The good news is most startup companies leverage free technology, so investing does not need to cost you thousands, or even hundreds of dollars! Consider what some extra capital in your friends’ pocket can have on their business!
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5) Offer Advice
I am terrible at giving advice to other people, and I understand how awkward it can feel. But this can be an incredibly helpful way to support your friends business.
Make sure to encourage your friends to reach out to you if they are struggling with their new venture. There’s nothing worse than being alone and starting something new.
Don’t just assume that your friends know what they are doing. They might be scared and need someone to check in with them regularly to make sure they are making the right decisions.
6) Introduce Your Friend to People You Know
“You might be surprised at how few people your friends know outside of their industry,” says Emmanuella Coles, founder of Ayamajoko, a now-famous hair and skin care line based in Ghana.
That’s where you come in. The more people your friends meet, the more opportunities they’ll have for exposure and success. Meet them in person, and introduce them to other local business owners.
Even better, encourage them to join networking events or meetups. And don’t stop there. Let them know you’re available for them to call on for advice.
7) Be a Sounding Board
Let’s face it, your friend is facing real challenges.
It’s easy for us to want to swoop in and fix it. To tell your friends exactly what they should be doing, and how they should be doing it. But the real hard work of growing and developing the business is going to come from your friends, themselves.
Give them real feedback Their business isn’t perfect. It’s a work in progress. It may not be the business of their dreams, yet. But allowing them an outlet to vent and bounce ideas off of is incredibly helpful.
8) Become a Partner In Their Business
Even if you are not yet an investor, become a partner. It’s best to go all-in, but just investing a small amount of time helps your friends from taking a step back.
You can join their team as a trusted advisor and see first hand how the business is doing, how the sales are going, and how their efforts are paying off.
Or, be a product tester. If your friends have created a product or service, participate as a product tester. By testing the product, you can feel confident in your friends’ product and offer your professional advice and opinion on its usability.
And when the product is launched, it can be helpful to know how much the product has changed from your initial feedback.
9) Help Connect Them With Others
We all have friends that are talented writers, musicians, photographers, or athletes — and we want to be able to connect them with other people who have similar passions.
To do this, you need to be aware of the types of groups your friends are a part of and who else they have connections with. Encourage them to consider their social media account direct message conversations, too!
If your friends are passionate about a specific group of people (say, the Army or Cooking), then start seeing what kind of local activities are going on around them. If your friends are in a community choir, start joining them at their rehearsals or going to their concerts.
Not only do you want to be able to support your friends, but we want them to have other people to support them, too.
Whether you are a blogger, freelancer, or small business owner, chances are you have friends that are constantly hustling to make their business a success.
When someone you love is working hard to make their dreams come true, it’s not only important to support them but also to get to know their work.
So, refer back to this article and the 9 ways you can support your friends and get to know their work.
The support you give to your friends will be returned a thousand times over. The loyalty you have towards your friends and family is everlasting and is often a more valuable asset.