Small business owners require help to succeed, be that financial, operational or emotional. As far as the emotional, one of the most important sources for many entrepreneurs are friends and family members. As entrepreneurs often face the challenges of helming their company on their own, they need that social stimulus that comes from friends and family. Friends and family represent that ever so crucial support system necessary for business owners who are otherwise coping with stress, as they attempt to balance work and play; a support system helps them to keep a sense of perspective even amid the responsibility of starting and maintaining a business in an often cold-hearted market. Also, family and friends can be a source of financial help to many a small business owner, especially those just starting out.
Bank of America conducted a survey of 1000 small business owners across the country and revealed that over fifty percent said that they did in fact rely on family and actually they did so in terms of having family members functioning in business roles, like advisors, employees, investors and partners. Another 38% of the people surveyed said that family helped as far as offering financial support, as did their friends in some instances. And still, others suggested that family and friends were critical in helping them to actually run the business itself.
We all know small business owners are self-starters; they make sacrifices for their companies, and yet there is this inherent and crucial family/friend dimension when it comes to outside involvement and help.
According to the BOA report, small business owners viewed the support they received
from family and friends as extremely important to them—in many ways a lifeline. Among
some of the other key findings from this survey…
Over sixty percent of those surveyed who
consequently borrowed from family or friends did respond that they felt truly grateful.
Respondents reported other emotions as well when it came to being faced with
borrowing from friends and family, including anxiety, happiness, and also feelings of
awkwardness or embarrassment.
While there were some mixed feelings, overwhelmingly, those who did borrow from
family or friends to help with their business endeavors were more so grateful than
anything else. And of those who were grateful, nearly three-quarters intend to pay it
Additionally, those owners of newer small businesses –businesses less than five years
old– were not only more optimistic but also more often fell into the category of
those who were apt to borrow from family or friends.
Emotional support is important, and can, in some cases, be more
important than other types of support. Building a business is stressful—and all of the
problems therein are not just solved with money. Over fifty-five percent of respondents
said that they rely on family and friends for emotional support. Family members also
volunteer as well as provide referrals that help support small business owners.
Beyond just the investments in the business, over 10% of small business owners did
say that their family or spouse also helped out financially from a personal perspective,
as far as buying groceries and paying bills.
Almost two-thirds of those surveyed mentioned that the residents in
their community actively supported small businesses, and almost 50% say that in fact,
their local community plays an important role in determining the success and/or failure
of a small business. As a result, 67% of those surveyed say that they do contribute to
local charities benefitting their respective communities. Support that small business!
A different survey, such conducted by a financial firm, showed that 10% of respondents
were actually still using funding from family and friends. On so many levels, ties with a
family/friends network are critical to small business owners. Not only can they help
financially, but that social connection is important to help keep that entrepreneur moving
forward. Additionally, as has been found, community ties and support between local
businesses can help entrepreneurship thrive.
Small businesses rely on their communities, they rely on numerous people and groups
to help see them through. Which means as a community member, or friend, or family
member of a small business owner, your connection and support do
matter—immensely. This is why doing things like prioritizing Small Business Saturday
are so important. When going out shopping, consider buying local, buying from that
small business down the street. Like them on social media, follow their work and share
it accordingly. Be a good community steward of local companies and this way we all
will continue to have access to the diversity of products and services they offer.