As the title states, this article is about supporting your friends and family’s small businesses. A article that needs to be written and needs to be read. Support your friends businesses and progressions like you support the celebrities that you don’t actually know.
In the last couple of years the beard care market has boomed, I’d be surprised if you don’t know anyone in your surroundings that have started or tried to start a small business, selling their own home made products. Everything from home made combs, paintings, beard balm, beard oil to t-shirts and apparel. Some of them succeed, some don’t. The thing these businesses rely on mostly in the beginning of the start up is friends, family and connections.
The main problem with that is, that being friends and family, they also want a discount most of the times. Why shouldn’t friends and family members get a discount, right? Well, it’s a tricky situation to be honest. Friends should help your company grow, not make you struggle to break even. Sure, a few freebies here and there, let some friends test, feel and review, thats good. But when your friends wont support your hard work and wont purchase your goods without a discount, thats bad.
The thing thats even worse, is when you see your friends run screaming of joy over their purchase from another company, a bigger company, a person they don’t know, without getting any discount at all, thats when you start second guess your leap and risk to start a business. You see friends spending hundreds of dollars on branded clothing, on some other brands products and apparel, and not on you. Sure, you cant force your friends to be customers, but you can ask for support.
Support that will help your business grow, support that in the long run might yield discounts for your friends, support that can get you to follow your dream.
I see this on a daily basis, friends posting their new apparel, new purchases all over social media, new purchases that have been bought without discounts, with super high shipping, just to be a part of a group, click and/or club. And as soon as a local small business owner posts their stuff, instantly the question comes: “Do you have a discount code”, “Can I get a free sample”, “I’m your friend, can I get it cheaper”…. what’s up with that? What does my work, and other small businesses work less worth spending money on?
Social media attention?
Could it be that easy? That if I had 200000 followers on Instagram, the illusion of a feature to those followers would make my friends buy my products? That my business is too small, that if my friend purchase my stuff, they wont get the social media attention they (don’t) get from the big companies?
Giveaways are the devils invention, giveaways suck… Yea, there, I said it. Over the last 3 years that Ratemybeard have been up and running, I’ve been doing giveaways on a regular basis. Over 50 giveaways have been posted and all of them are full of participants, people go crazy over free stuff. But are those people customers when the giveaway ends? NO! I’m a sucker for statistics, I check the visitor statistics everyday and I see who returns, who is new and where people come from. Almost the same people enter the giveaways all the time, with addition of some new. But that’s all they do. They rarely come by the website if there’s no giveaway going, they rarely post a picture, rarely comments, and never purchase anything. The giveaways often have a requirement to join our mailing list, but as soon as the giveaway is over and the first mail goes out, the newly added participants unsubscribe. So basically I gave something away for free and got nothing in return. That’s why giveaways suck!
To be fair, the only thing for sale at the moment is our Ratemybeard t-shirt through Spreadshirt, but even that one have only gone out to a handfull of people. There have been other products for sale on the website over the years, but hardly any sales. Our shirts from Spreadshirt is set at 20 USD, with 7.50 USD International Shipping, 4.50 USD within the US. That’s pretty nice to be honest, specially when seeing some clubs, groups etc, selling shirts for double that price… yet I find myself the one without sales. What am I doing wrong here? Maybe I got it all wrong, maybe my friends shouldn’t be my customers!
Once again, I cant force my friends to buy anything, I cant force them to visit my website, I cant force them to promote me… But then again, why wouldn’t they want to support me, I’m their friend!?!
Do you run a small business? Have you encountered this as much as I have? Let me know in the comments below!
With all this said, some friends do support me, they are amazing. I wish I could thank you enough!
If you want to support some small businesses, check out these ones for example:
You can find more small businesses here:
Beard store listing