I came across this lovely post on LinkedIn and it really got me thinking about how we support initiatives by our family and friends. Starting a new business is scary – the uncertainty, the self-doubt, the financial struggles, you name it. If you have friends that have recently decided to pursue the entrepreneurial route, kudos to them! They are going to need all the support and validation you can give.
We’re used to showing your support for something on social media. We “like” every Facebook post, hit follow on Instagram, and occasionally even comment a “Yesss” with the double hands up emoji. That’s all nice, but is it really the tangible show of support our friends need?
Here’s 4 ways you can go beyond the “like…”
Download, Rate, Review
So your friend just launched a new app or website, did you actually download it? Have you taken the time to rate it on the App Store or leave a review?
In the beginning phases of a product launch, feedback is everything. New users want to be sure the product they’re getting has buy-in from others. Strong ratings and download numbers help ensure the product is valuable. And if a company is looking for investors, having metrics to show on the popularity of the app can be a game-changer.
Donate Your Time or Skills
As a new business owner, one of the things your friend doesn’t have a lot of is time. New business owners often need to focus on prioritizing a few important things. Often, time-consuming but necessary tasks can fall by the wayside or be delayed until the last minute, causing stress.
Donate your time and offer to help your friend create and send out email newsletters, put together marketing materials, cold call leads for an hour, or even get their inbox organized. These tasks may seem small, but they can make a huge difference in productivity.
Or donate your skills. Are you great with budgeting or excel? Are you a social media goddess? Whiteboarding champ? Two heads are always better than one. If you see something you’re an expert in, bring some snacks and offer up your skills for a few hours.
Use Your Connections
“But I don’t know anyone important.” Stop right there! You don’t need to know people with deep pockets or high-level executives at top companies for your network to be useful.
The best network is the circle of friends you already have. Know someone who’s really great at taking Instagram photos or creating Youtube videos? Maybe they can help with online branding or content strategy. Know some bloggers or freelance writers? Refer them to your friend for some good press. Are you still plugged into your old college network? Connect your friend with students who may be looking for an internship experience.
Your personal network can be more valuable than you think. As a bonus, you’ll expand your circle of friends!
Asking for money is hard. Asking for money from your friends is even harder. It’s awkward, embarrassing, and the rate of rejection is usually high.
A lot of new businesses start fundraising early on with a friends and family round or crowdfunding campaign like Kickstarter. This is a real grassroots way for those close to the founder to show their support for the mission or product. A little bit goes a long way, so even if $10 is all you can afford, your friend will appreciate your effort.
The best friends are the ones that support each others’ visions. So get out there and go!