The journey of young entrepreneurs is a fascinating one. Young people have become inherent self-starters making significant personal sacrifices in order to set up businesses. Their utmost purpose is to make a living and fight unemployment, which is a social problem in Namibia. It is obvious that these entrepreneurs face tough challenges and sleepless nights working in an epoch of big-box stores. As a result, these individuals normally rely on the inputs and support of their communities to thrive.
For many entrepreneurs, the dimension of family and friends is core to their success. Friends and family members provide a key lifeline to small businesses, as they are the first clients. Entrepreneurs in most cases do not search and acquire other customers at the beginning. But the question is, do family members and friends pay full prices for the services and products they get from their personal contacts? This is however not the norm in the larger creative ecosystem.
We cannot get away with the fact that some of our family members and friends think that they are entitled to a discount or gift because they know the seller. They sometimes undervalue their friends’ services and even overestimate their profits. This is an indication that close contacts do not respect each other’s energy or they do not care about their work. It seems to be hard for family and friends to understand the value of their friend’s businesses. Failure to give them discounts and free services sometimes result in a negative reaction to the owner’s efforts to sell them a product or service.
Behind every successful small business is a strong network of family and friends. It is, therefore, crucial to be the support a small business needs. Friends and family members should be good community stewards of their friend’s businesses and they will continue to have access to a diversity of products and services. Asking for freebies is a poor form and discounts are not good either. Paying for someone’s services is a way to show your love and support.
It is important to note that these young entrepreneurs might need the money more than you do. Ask what the actual cost of the product is, put it in your budget, and try to get a grant or save up in order to pay in full. If you are struggling financially and really need a freebie, ask for a payment plan or extension. We should also develop a culture of advertising our friends and family businesses out of our own free will and encourage our circle to use their services.
The premise of writing this piece is not to discourage discounts or gifts. The stance is that business owners should be in control of what and how much they are giving. Giving must be from own generosity and not from pressure.
Take the sentiments out of business- rates are rates.
-Saara Meke Amakali is an Industrial Psychology and Sociology graduate. Email her at email@example.com