In Business Who Do You Trust
Friends, Confidants, Partners, Advisors…
When starting you own business you have to be extremely careful with whom you share your ideas and vision. During this process you are going to encounter many different people and as the owner/ creator/ CEO, whatever you choose to label yourself, be careful to quickly recognize who you’re dealing with.
I have identified 8 different personalities/ friends that you will be sure to encounter during your journey:
• Pessimist/ Non-Risk Taker
Pessimist/ Non-Risk Taker:
The Pessimist, may be a great friend in every other facet of life but not in your entrepreneurship journey. This person tends to really just be focused on gaining or maintaining a ‘good’ job and doesn’t understand the desire for business ownership. This friend is most likely to see the negative potential within your venture.
The best way to deal with this person is to maintain your social relationship and keep business out of it. In the early stages it will be a touchy situation because they may say you proved them wrong and respect you as your own business person or they may still be discouraging; in that case, keep them out of your space.
Be very, very careful with this person. Maintain minimal discussion about your vision with this person. Many times this is the idea stealer and potential competition. Everything discussed with this person may become fuel for their own business. This person tends to put out a product quick; it may not be high quality but it is available. All the while you are still working on a quality product. In due time consumers will realize the difference but many times the blow of being ‘back-stabbed’ by a friend slows down your momentum.
Identify quickly and limit details to just basic conversation about drive and excitement. No specifics!
Develop a contract before anything serious is discussed and amend often. Business with friends is tricky, since you’re dealing with a friend there is a level of leniency that is automatic. Business and money can end a friendship quicker than it began. Protect your friend and your business with a basic contract of understanding.
The rule of contracting is important for any partner, friend or not! Contracts keep everyone in their place and there is little need to discuss logistics when there are problems if everything is in a contract to begin.
These are the best people for your business. Many times they want no part of your business but to see it and you succeed. This person will give you the best word of mouth publicity and the encouraging words you need during the frustrating times. Depending on your business they may even help you just to take the pressure off.
This is your feedback friend. This person truly becomes vested in your business. They will go with you through each step and actually help fine tune your plan. This person expects no compensation or recognition other than your appreciation. Be sure to not abuse them. Many times this person is not associated with the industry that you are breaking into, so you get a consumer point-of-view every step of the way.
DO NOT abuse this person! They are a true asset and donating their time to you. Use them wisely.
Mentor/ Industry Friend:
The Mentor, is someone who is already experienced in what you are working towards. Their tenure really depends on what you are looking for. It’s a good idea to find someone who is fairly new to the industry and then a veteran to the industry. The newbie can help with the start and the veteran can help you with longevity.
Build strong relationships with these people because you may be able to help and work together down the road.
This is usually a small business owner who befriends you. Be careful as this can be a very lucrative and beneficial relationship or time consuming and toxic. It may be a true exchange of services or it may be a lot of your energy spent. Make sure this is an exchange. Don’t provide anything for free when not receiving a benefit. It’s easy to get caught up in giving and never receiving. Sometimes the only receipt is support and if that’s okay with you, great.
Be very careful because many people confuse the Networker and the Absorber. In a healthy networking relationship many ideas are exchanged and this person can be great to talk to because you are in a similar struggle.
This person should have knowledge on business start-up and help you be as efficient and effective as possible in your tax bracket. This person points you towards the best services for you, both free and with cost. This person is going to be the most honest with you. Not to be brutal but simply to help you put forth the best you.
This person many times comes at a cost but usually they are worth the time and cost. Initial consultations are usually free.
Each of these people play a vital role in your journey and you probably won’t understand it until you’re close to your breaking point. Understand that this is your venture, you make the decisions. Other people will have good ideas for you but that doesn’t mean they are right for your business. Take note if you want but it is okay to say no if that’s not the current direction you are going in.
It is important to have people around to help you but make sure that the vision and end goal are always yours, and yours alone.