#Business: Why You Should Avoid Building Your Business With Family & Friends

June 21, 2016

A common theme I hear among my friends who are business owners is that they rarely get support from their family and friends. My response is always, "I'm not surprised!". 

When starting a business, you have a detailed outline on what you plan to offer, who you plan to engage, and what results you expect to see. You are thorough and very optimistic. Then months later, you are crushed when you don't see your dream pan out.

Many of my friends have funded their starts-up from their savings and are eager to replace their investment but that never happens. One of the first things I ask is, "who did you market your product to?" Too often, I hear that the business plan started with family and friends with hopes that their family and friends would buy the product AND share it with their associates. After months of trying to engage them, they finally give up. 

According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. A monstrous 80% crash and burn! With most business failing in the first year, it important to position your business to go beyond this point and standout in its. Not having a clear marketing plan is a major pitfall and having one that starts with family and friends is just as bad. Your sole plan should never begin with connecting with your small circle.  From your perspective, you assume that if you have a dream, those around you have the same dream. Simply put, that is not so. 
Several reasons your "inner" circle may not support your business is:
  1. They don't have any interest in the product you are selling.
  2. They may not have a need for your product or service.
  3.  They are not aware of your product or service.
  4. They have supported past endeavors.

Then again, you may have people who just don't value what you do, and that is okay! Your goal should be to expand to people you have never met in new markets. By expanding to new markets you position yourself to see faster growth and develop returning customers.

Yes, it may be discouraging that your "inner circle" doesn't share the dream or passion you may have or that they don't value what you do enough to support you, but this doesn't have to be the end of your business. The world is filled with millions of people who may have a need for your product. You just need to find them and engage with them. A core fundamental of consumer experience is to ensure that customer interactions are designed and not left to chance. You should meticulously engineer the experience and engagement through structured actions that represent where you want to be in the future. Consider engage local businesses, online partners, and non-traditional marketing. Ensure that your plan is “enjoyable”, “easy” and “meets the needs” of your customer.

Share your business plan with family and friends but don't build your business on them. When it is all said and done, don't become bitter or envious when you see those close to you supporting others. Help them support others and know that in time, your support will come if you do the right thing and work hard. 

Know your brand, know your market, and know your worth!

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