You know, the title may as well read “Why I stopped supporting friend’s businesses” and left it at that. As a small business owner, you need every single piece of support that you can get. Or at least, you think you do. That is until you get familiar with those who support your business and forget that they were on the ground level with you. Let me explain.
Many years ago, I was driving to work and passed this field of wheat. While looking at it, this thought came to mind; “You need to spend more time tending to your fields.” As a Christian, I tend to believe that it was the Holy Spirit. Some may feel that it was last night’s pizza coming back to haunt me, but I digress. Or is it digest? Again. Forgive me. I hadn’t put a whole lot of thought into it but when I got something that wouldn’t leave me, I took a picture of that field to remind me of the moment.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself helping others. This is a blessing and a curse of mine. I love people and I love watching their dreams unfold. The problem is, that I tend to have more invested in their dream than I should. I bought their coffees, their creams (that I hate), their greens (which I didn’t mind but still), their business ideas, etc., only to find that they were more invested in their other friends and not as invested in my dreams. I found that I was dropping time and energy in the wrong places.
It came back to me one day. “You need to spend more time tending to your fields.” What does that mean?! Oh, those businesses that I have started are stagnant because I haven’t tended to them, and my focus has been on someone else’s business. You have done it as well? Better yet, some will read this and go, “You have businesses”? I do have multiple businesses. Like I said, though, they are stagnant.
They became stagnant because I focused on other people’s businesses and helping them out. Now, there’s nothing wrong with helping others. However, you must strike a healthy balance on what that looks like. What does that look like?
Give full support to your friend’s business and it is reciprocated.
Encouraging your friend and it is reciprocated.
Collaborating with a common goal.
Spreading the word about each other’s businesses.
Showing up. No really…. showing up. Stop giving and receiving lip service and show up.
If none of these things are happening, it may be time for you to reevaluate things. Am I saying kill the friendship or the business collaborations? No. I am saying to evaluate the reason you are doing it and the reason they are doing things. Friendship is a two-way street and that includes business. Your friends should be your greatest allies and supporters. If they are not, it may be time for you to take your business elsewhere. It may be time for you to “tend to your own fields.”
This was a difficult concept for me. I don’t want to give up on people and their dreams. I don’t want to be supportive. I also don’t deserve to go unsupported either and nor do you. Sometimes, you just have to focus on your own field and tend to it. You aren’t doing anyone a favor by doing otherwise.