Friends are great to share secrets with, go to brunch or take a vacation with, but when it comes to being a part of your business, friends may be off limits.
You see, your brand is the visual to the essence you exude. How you interact, what/who you align yourself with, how you react towards situations, your style, and the list goes on.
Your brand is your child and like a child it must be guided, nurtured, and protected. You wouldn’t allow your child to be exposed to negative influences, so neither should your brand. While your friends’ intentions may be good, their actions (unintentionally) may prove otherwise. You know the saying, ‘don’t mix business with pleasure’ — well this is true for some and not so for others.
If you find yourself contemplating the idea of mixing your friendship into your business, here are some ways to get them from hurting to helping.
1. Money talks! Let’s say you’re a chef and you have been constantly feeding your friends your newest creations but are not reaping any profits. Add a donation to it. Don’t be afraid to unveil your newest product or service and charge a “preview fee.” It doesn’t have to be astronomical. Share with your friends that this is seed money to support your business.
2. Be direct! Honesty is the best policy. There may be friends who are in it just for the freebies. Then there may be other friends who you feel know better than that. If it’s not working, let them know. Harboring any ill will or not speaking up creates bad synergy.
3. Set deadlines! Friendships involve being patient, especially with friends with different personalities. They think you’ll be understanding with their other time commitments. For example, you’re still waiting for Ashley to send over the press release and you’re being patient because you know she’s a mom of three and juggling other stuff. It will become frustrating. Set deadlines to avoid this issue.
4. Set tasks based on the individual! Your friends will say they want to help out in some shape or form. But be realistic with yourself! You know your friends. You know their strengths and weaknesses. If Mark is great at content management for your site, get him involved on your website. If you have a friend who may be great on social media or have the gift of gab, utilize them as a host/ hostess for your event or take them to a networking event to meet with prospective clients.
5. Evaluate the situation! Do they understand your brand, vision, concept? Do they understand you as an entrepreneur? Do they have the same project management skills? Keep it real and be smart.
As an entrepreneur, you’re investing tons of hours into your brand. Don’t expect everyone to have that same energy. Sure you’ll read stats that have the numbers in front of why you shouldn’t go into business with friends. But if you know your people, trust your guts and be firm with laying out the ground rules—then you’ll succeed as an entrepreneur and a friend.
About Angie Morris:
Angie is a mompreneur based in NYC operating MBA Moms. Since its inception in 2011, MBA MOMS has become the leading group for mompreneurs by coaching moms on what it takes to start a business! Angie developed MBA MOMS to create a platform where moms can find a balance between career and family! The mission of MBA Moms is “Transforming Moms into MOMpreneur.” In her spare time, Angie is a serial tweeter who enjoys jet skiing and spending time with family and her tribe of sister friends! For more information on MBA Moms, go to www.mbamomsonline.com or on social @thembamoms.