When you start a new small business it is very exciting, and in your excitement it is only natural you want to share your business dream with those close to you, your family and friends. But you may not always get the response you were hoping for.
You may assume that the people you care about will share your enthusiasm for your new business venture, but chances are you will come across some people that doubt, or who are even very negative, about the new direction you are taking by starting a small business.
Doubtfulness and negativity is hard to deal with at the best of times, but it is especially difficult when it comes from the people closest to you and whose opinion you care the most about.
When we pursue things that is new to us, like starting a small business, we are often a little more sensitive to other’s opinions more than we normally would. While it is exciting to start a small business, it is equally nerve-wracking and sometimes we might already feel a little unsure we are making the right decision, and negative comments are deflating and can cast a shadow over ours dreams. If you’re not careful, loved ones opinions can cause self-doubt and stop you moving forward and making your small business dream a reality.
If you want to pursue what really matters to you, it’s very important, that you don’t let business doubter’s mess with your head or heart.
How to deal with your small business doubters
1. Don’t take negative comments personally
The first things is not to take negative comments from loved ones personally.
Friends and family who have never been an entrepreneur just don’t understand, they can’t support because they have never been there. It’s not necessarily they are totally unsupportive of your small business dream and want you to fail, the negativity is expressed more so because they care about you and are trying to protect you.
When people voice their concerns and doubts about your small business dream, it is a reflection of their own beliefs. Some friends and family members will just never understand what you’re doing. Many people lack the courage and confidence to follow their own dreams and are afraid of the risks of business ownership, or sometimes they may be reflecting back wounds from their own past failures.
2. Take on board feedback from your ideal customers
Often your family and friends aren’t your ideal customer and they wouldn’t be interested in buying your products and services anyway, regardless of whether it is from you or not. There is no real value in taking on board the feedback from people who would never be your client or customer. But if they are, or similar to, your ideal customer, and are negative about your business, ask questions to find out why. Perhaps you may need to tweak your offering to ensure it meets the needs of your ideal customer.
3. Ignore negative comments
Rather than getting defensive and argumentative with your non-supporters, it is best just to ignore their comments, and you know, you can always change the subject if their opinions are bothering you. If you like, you can provide a brief response to explain why you’re starting a business and what are you doing to mitigate the risks, to help alleviate some of the concerns your families and friends may have. But don’t feel like you have to go into detail, you don’t want to be wasting valuable time and energy defending your decision.
The less you are visibly upset in your response, the less likely people will share their doubts and negatively with you again. And you will soon learn who you will and won’t share your business dream with going forward.
Try not to get shaken by others negatively, focus your energy and headspace on working toward achieving your business goals. Be proud that you have stepped out of your comfort zone, that you have the courage and are taking action to fulfil a dream.
4. Don’t expect too much from family and friends
You also need to make sure you are not expecting too much from family and friends either.
Supportive family and friends will provide you support in the way they know how to, they may act as your cheerleaders and provide moral support, but it isn’t reasonable to expect friends and family to offer help or suggestions how to build your small business, especially if they have never owned a business and lack the knowledge themselves. Good relationships are precious and you don’t want to be putting too much pressure on them with exceptions that can’t be met.
5. Identify and get the support you need
Instead of relying on family and friends for business advice and support, it is far more important to identify what type of support you require so you can get the right advice from the right people. Some examples of business advisors you can engage are accountants, lawyers, social media experts, business mentors. Yes this type of support will likely incur a cost, unless you know someone who owes a favour or who is very generous with their time, but the knowledge that comes from another’s expertise will be invaluable for business development and it is just not possible to do it all on your own.
In addition, consider of joining a networking group specifically for small business owners. Connecting with people in a similar situation to you is vital, it’s important to connect with like-minded people, not only they will understand firsthand the highs and lows and lows of running a business, they will be supportive of your entrepreneurial aspirations. They may also share advice and provide valuable feedback and well as being an inspiration, especially those who are much further along the entrepreneurial journey than you are.
6. Get comfortable with rejection
As a small business owner you’re going to get lots of rejections, not just from family and friends. Rejection doesn’t indicate don’t have a great product or service, it’s just means who your targeting is not your ideal customer or your offering maybe needs to be tweaked.
To be successful in small business need to get comfortable with rejection, never take rejection personally and preserve your motivation and determination to keep pursing your small business dream.