By Princess Jones

I’ve noticed this meme floating around my Facebook circles this past month or so:


I chuckled the first time I saw it posted. It was from someone who was essentially working a pyramid scheme. I wouldn’t call that a business, but to each his own. Then I saw it again. It was from someone who was selling real estate. A few days later, one of my restaurateur friends was posting it. One of my freelance design friends even posted it. And that’s when I got annoyed. Why did so many small business owners think that selling to their family and friends was so important?

Does your business plan say, “Get everybody I go to Zumba with to buy this product?” Remember back when your business was just a twinkle in your eye and you were putting together your business plan? When you got to the part where you had to work out who was the ideal customer for your business, did you put down: “That girl in my high school French class who sometimes sends me extra lives in Candy Crush?” Did your analysis lead you to believe that anyone who liked your last status about your movie plan would also sign up for your service?

That’s not a sustainable business plan. If you want to grow your small business, you must target potential customers who align with your unique selling proposition. Even if you get a few sales thrown your way out of kindness and loyalty, you can’t expect them to sustain your business out of a sense of loyalty.

Earn your business. No one owes you a business. You are not entitled to other’s people’s money just because you are Facebook friends. That attitude is going to get you nowhere. Your friends and family work hard to earn their money and you’re going to have to work just as hard to earn it from them.

In a market where there is intense competition in nearly every industry, no one gets a free pass. Instead of posting memes and being salty, here are some things you can do to actually earn the business of your friends and family:

  • Be the best solution to a problem
  • Be the most convenient option
  • Be the most cost effective option
  • Be the solution that most aligns with their core values

If these things sound familiar to you, it’s because this is how you earn anyone’s business. And that’s the secret to building a long lasting, sustainable business. Not sulking. Not entitlement. Not Facebook memes.