How To Support You Entrepreneurial Friends
Easy turbo! I’m not saying not to spend money with Small business. I’m saying there are other ways you can support, on top of purchasing goods and services from entrepreneurs. I’m also a small business owner. I know budgets fluctuate every month . Even as a consumer, I wish I could support more but at times — well “How my bank account set up….” Instead of doing nothing, I can do the following things to keep showing love to my entrepreneurial friends. Enjoy.
A lot of people have ideas, but not many of those people are motivated enough to get off their butts, and do something tangible with those ideas. That’s why entrepreneurs are so important. They show us how dreaming alone is not enough. If you want to make it, you’re gonna have to work for it, period. Nothing in life is free, except salvation. Chances are we all know someone who is an entrepreneur. There are so many people out there trying to push their dreams forward and be their own boss. They’re quitting their jobs, taking L’s in their love lives, and putting all of their earnings towards making their dreams a reality. Unfortunately, support from their circle of friends isn’t always there and we’ve gotta do better. Because at the end of the day, ideas are easy. It’s implementation that separates the haves from the have-nots. Here is some of the many ways you can do better at encouraging your entrepreneurial friends.
1) Encourage them.
Some people have no idea how much resilience and dedication is needed to be a successful entrepreneur. With small business owners, expectations are always high, and deadlines are always present; and because of that, entrepreneurs tend to be much harder on themselves than the average person. That’s why it’s important to, whenever applicable, encourage them. Let them know that you’re proud of them, send them positive affirmations from time to time — you never know…you could be the motivation they needed that day to see something through.
2) Repost things on Social Media for them.
Social media is one of the more common ways of getting the word out about something. Whether it’s an Instagram page, a Facebook profile or a Twitter account, brands and entrepreneurs alike are making good use of social media to increase awareness of their product or service. If you have a friend who has a business they are trying to get off the ground, you can easily help them increase their brand’s awareness simply by sharing things on your page.
I know, I know… maybe it doesn’t go with the aesthetic of your social media pages or you don’t like how the flyer looks. But hey, it’s not like you have to keep the post up forever. And the share button works relatively simple, too. Not only does it increase awareness for your friend, but it shows them that you’re actually willing to leverage your own following on social media to help them be successful. Now, if you don’t like and/or support what they’re doing, this next point is definitely for you.
3) Be honest with them.
The worst thing you can do for your entrepreneurial friend is lie to them. If you don’t agree with what they are doing, or if you think they aren’t executing it in the best way, tell them. If they ask you, “What do you think about this?”, tell them what you really think– not what you think they want to hear. There’s enough cheerleaders out in the world and not enough coaches. Sometimes, the truth hurts. but your obligation lies in how you deliver your truth and not necessarily in how they respond to it. That means you shouldn’t be out here talking to people any kind of way or tearing down people’s hopes and dreams.
However, it does mean that if you consider someone a friend, you owe them a certain level of honesty. It truly is the best policy. When telling them the truth, don’t just say “I don’t like that” or “this won’t work.” Make sure you have a reasonable explanation to support why you feel the way you do. It’s all about how you say it. If you come across as collaborative and sincere, your friend is more likely to listen to and receive your advice. However, if you come across as judgmental and overly critical, they may reject everything you say and now all of a sudden, ya’ll got beef. You may think you’re sparing their feelings by not keeping it completely “100” with them but in reality, you’re hurting them with your lies and the crazy part about it is…they don’t even know you’re doing it.
4) Show up.
It doesn’t cost a thing to be a good steward over your money. In most cases, if we’d just be more responsible with our money, we’d have some left over to go to our friend’s show or patronize them for a product or service they offer. Don’t let money be the reason you don’t support your friends. The cost of losing a good friendship far exceeds the cost of you paying to support them while they’re operating in their chosen craft. Don’t let your schedule get weighed down with so much “stuff” that you forget what and who really matters. If you saw the flyer on Instagram for their show two weeks ago; why are you act surprised when they tell you the show has a cover charge? Don’t be that person. Showing up is one of the simplest, yet most overlooked forms of support that you can display.
5) Listen to them.
Being an entrepreneur is hard. PERIOD. The grass in not as green once you jump the white picket fence of corporate America. Going after your dream and trying to create something out of nothing is hard. Sometimes, all people need is a listening ear. Someone to sit on the other side of the phone and be quiet as they just let it all out. Maybe they need to release all of their stresses related to being an entrepreneur. Maybe it could even be some things that are completely unrelated. Regardless of what it is, true friends are there to listen. Not only that, true friends ask the right questions, at the right time because they listen to understand rather than listen to respond. You’d be surprised how much good can come from actually listening to someone before opening your mouth to offer them some sort of solution. Listening to your friends gives them the opportunity to lessen whatever load they’ve been carrying because they get to share it with you as a confidant. But the gag is… you can’t listen if you’re so consumed in your own stuff, you can’t answer when they call you or respond when they text you. So to a certain degree, you’ve got to be accessible in order to listen.
6) Be Forgiving.
If you have an entrepreneur that you’re close to, you’ve probably had quite a few phone calls that have gone unreturned. Probably even more text messages that have not received a reply. I know for myself, my friends sometimes don’t hear from me for weeks at a time, and it’s not because I don’t want to talk to them — it’s because I’m out here grinding to keep my damn lights on. My mind is always on the next big thing and I used to look at that as a burden. I later realized it was a blessing that I hadn’t yet learned how to utilize effectively. I’ll go on record and say entrepreneurs tend to be scatterbrains and have the worst possible time management skills. Those of us that are actually interested in changing have to put time and effort into prioritizing our thought patterns and our time. But many don’t acknowledge the fact that it’s our friends and family members that take the biggest hit sometimes. I know for me personally, I’m not always there like I would like, but I’m always there when I absolutely have to be. And if the people around me were not on board with my vision, and focused more on the fact that I seem to constantly disappoint them with my absence, things would be much more stressful overall. Try to keep that in mind when dealing with your entrepreneur friends, they’ll more than likely appreciate you for it in the long run.
7) Do Not Expect or Ask for “The Hook Up”.
Pay Up! This may not be free but its the most important. Entrepreneurs need monetary support to stay in business. If you find value in the service or product when its free, you should find value in the product or service when its time to pay. How many times have you went to Saks, Neimans, Nordstrom, and asked for a discount for that Louis Vuitton Bag, Gucci Belt, Hermes Scarf…. F**k’in never. So why do it to a small business owner who more than likely is living from sale to sale? Just stop it. Instead of purchasing the newest pair of $250 pair of Jordan’s or $900 Buscemi sneakers, try spending it with your friend or local small business– you know someone who’s actually going to call you back. Someone who actually knows your name. I can almost promise the big brands only know you by the last 4 digits on your credit card and the security number on the back.
What other ways can you continue to support Black business and increase the longevity of the black dollar? Once a day I make it a point to spend money at a black establishment rather a restaurant, a food truck, clothing boutique, even just a car wash. What do you do to make a difference? Please comment and share below. Oh and be sure to check our business directory here for locally owned business!