Growing a business is hard work on your own, and that’s why you hire employees to help. It’s often, though, that businesses in their early stages are generated from a lot of pro bono help and nourishment. Entrepreneurs often get their friends and family to help volunteer for advertising, product making and other tasks that need to be handled when there’s not enough money to pay yourself, let alone an actual workforce.
Your family might be an easier sell, but your friends could use some warming up to. Some friends will jump at the chance to help, but you can’t blame someone for wanting something a little more. There’s an art to convincing your friends to go in with you on a business venture, even if it’s just in the capacity of handing out fliers.
Work the Tit for Tat Angle
Not many people are willing to give something away for free. In this exchange model, your friends are giving away their time for you. What are you going to offer them in return?
Whenever your friends help you out, give them something in exchange. It can be free product, a future cut, or even something more creative, like naming a future product or service after them. When you give someone an incentive to help, they’re more likely to do so.
Make it Fun
Sometimes all you need to do to entice someone to help you with your business is give the activity a competitive edge. Get your friends to all try and refer people to your business. Whoever gets the largest number of referrals wins free product, and everyone gets to have a night of drinks to celebrate the success.
Word of Mouth
One area of marketing that people don’t focus enough on in this digital age is the power of the word of mouth advertisement. Your friends have friends, and that’s something you can use.
Tell your closest friends about your business venture, and all you ask of them is to tell their friends. This kind of pyramid, trickle down advertising is how early grassroots movements got started, and the same can be said for your new small business.
Capitalize On Togetherness
Being with your friends is a fun experience in and of itself. When you want to do something for your business, involve your friends not only to help you work, but also to have something to do together. People are often happy to organize fundraisers, make product and commit to other business activities if that’s what they think of it as – an activity.
Ask for Advice and Opinions
When you have friends, you have the perfect opportunity for case studies and beta testing free of charge. For instance, say you have an ad campaign you want to start running. Shoot it by real people you know first before taking it out of the family to market to others. Ask for their real opinions. They may be more likely to be frank with you than a stranger.