Best way to help your friend’s business is to avoid well-intentioned (but harmful) advice you’ll find online. However, you can never go wrong if you find a way to get them (or show them how to get) more customers.
That is why this article is going to cover:
- common mistakes
- how to get clients
But usually, your friends will appreciate just knowing that you’re cheering for their success. Because business journey is oftentimes very difficult and lonely so a little bit of extra moral support and understanding goes a long way.
Common (Friendly) Mistakes
People have an urge to help their friends. But most likely you are not a business owner and you don’t understand all the implications of your actions.
And your friends will know you’re trying so they won’t tell you anything to prevent offending you (even though your actions produce unintended damage).
So here are the things you need to do:
#1 Beware The Algorithm
This means if you are not their target audience or a “real” customer:
- do not buy from your friends
- do not like or share their content
- do not spam your other friends with links
- do not leave reviews
Because when they have a new business then the search engines and social media apps are trying to figure out who to show their content to.
And if you engage with their content (and especially if you buy), the algorithms are going to show their posts to people who are more like you.
The problem is you aren’t a real customer and neither are other people similar to you. And since other people aren’t friends with your friend – they will not buy.
The algorithm is going to think their content or product is not good because others don’t like it. And you just wasted a lot of time and effort until the algorithm fixes (retrains) itself.
It’s even worse if your friend is using paid advertising because the algorithm is going to use past engagement and purchase data.
So now you’re wasting their money as well.
#2 Do Not Donate
Your friends are running a business, not a charity. And they want to stand on their own.
Donations are not scalable and sustainable solution. Instead, they would appreciate anything that actually helps them in building their business:
- new customer
- useful article (like this one)
- new promotion method
- info on their industry-related local fair
- podcast interviewing successful people in their industry (they could get good ideas from it)
#3 Give Them Space And Understanding
Invite them to your usual gatherings but don’t put pressure on them to come. I am sure they would love to come but they are tired, overworked, and don’t feel like they’re a very good company.
After all this work, they’re probably worried and full of doubts if their business is going to succeed or not. And they’re aware the odds are against them.
So make sure to communicate you understand they’re in difficult stage in their life (especially at the beginning). And let them know you will gladly do a catch-up with them once their business takes off.
How Can Your Friends Get New Clients?
The beginning of every business is very tough and every new business owner wants to get out of it. They want to move from the chaos phase into stability phase as soon as possible.
But many of them fall into a trap of looking for short-term solutions and quick fixes.
They end up struggling A LOT longer than they would otherwise if they just embraced the “slow” methods. In fact, I argue that the “slow” methods are actually the fastest and cheapest in existance. This is because relatively few people go after them.
One such method is blogging.
And I do “walk the talk”. This is a blog. You came here through search results. So it definitely works.
Yes, it takes a couple of months for my efforts to bring results. But other short-term methods take years instead. So I stick to the “slow” methods instead.
If you want to know more (and perhaps send the link to your friend), check out this article that shows how a blog can massively scale their business organically.
Senior Software Developer with experience in Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and search engine algorithms.