Whether your small business has one employee or 30, your friends and family have most likely played a significant role in how you have gotten to where you are today. When Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook, and continued growing it into the social media empire it is today, who did he call on to help develop the company? It was Randi Zuckerberg, the marketing maverick who also happened to be Mark's sister, who helped catapult the company into a worldwide social network. Don't be afraid of losing your independence -- guidance from friends and family can improve your business! Here are some ways you can leverage your friends and family to help you run your company.
Rely on their expertise
When you are starting to build your own small business, pieces will be missing. Look around at your friends and family; your network could offer the missing piece to your suite of capabilities that you might need. Maybe a friend works for a business that has a service, like accounting, that can help you organize the finances. Perhaps a cousin is an expert marketer that can help you shape your brand. For me, I was lucky enough to have family I could rely on after some of my landscaping trucks were stolen. Whether it is relying on your friends and family for aid in precarious situations like mine, or for their business expertise, you, too, should be unafraid to lean on your network.
Use their advice
When you start a business, friends and family are often quick to share advice with you. This is all great -- with each of their unique business and life experiences, they will have a unique point of view on how you can improve your business. But, be careful to take each piece of advice with a grain of salt. No matter how well-intentioned advice may be, only you truly know the goals, means, and full nature of your business.
Find your mentor
The importance of a mentor is no surprise to small business owners, but it deserves a mention nonetheless. This may seem contradictory to my warning about taking advice but finding a mentor to trust and work with will lead to long-term success. Whether your mentor is a parent, grandparent, or a friend from college, each can help you achieve greatness and push beyond your limits.
And if you're not getting any support...
There is nothing that can cut deeper than friends and family not providing the support you need or want. Well, prove the doubters wrong. Every day you can wake up with the satisfaction of proving that you can achieve financial security and create a successful business for your future. It will not always be easy, but transform the lack of support into the fuel for your motivation. As you continue working to accomplish your dream, your larger community will fluctuate to encompass supportive mentors and colleagues who can help provide the help and advice you crave.
Hopefully you're fortunate enough to have a supportive community of friends and family. Let their kind words and offers of help propel your success forward. Show each of them that they were right in believing in you. Build a first-class support system around yourself, with friends, family, mentors, and colleagues, to help build your small business into your dream. Keep your head down and continue working, but never forget the friends and family that helped you get where you are today.
Paul Proctor is co-founder of Locqus, a free, online platform and mobile app that provides small businesses with a big company experience through streamlined, easy-to-use tracking and management services.