A popular dilemma for small business owners, especially in the first few years of business, is how to handle friends and family while conducting business. By “handle,” I mean the disarray and anxiety encircled around pricing products for your friends and family.
Most confusion comes from two major circumstances:
- Friends or family are expecting a discount
- You, as the business owner, feel guilty or unsure about discounts for friends and family
When it comes to your business, the main point to remember is that it is, in fact, a business. To remain in business, you must make money. It seems so obvious, but this tidbit of reality is often dismissed for new business owners. We want to get recognized, we want people to be excited, we want people to buy, and because we haven’t taken the time to really learn how to price our products, we go to discounts as the first option to try and make sales. I will constantly reiterate this point: Discounts are not how you grow your business!
As tough as this might seem, this rule applies to your friends and family.
If your friends and family want to buy your products without contest, then that is how you should let them. This means they support you, they believe in you, and they want you to succeed. Offering discounts to friends and family becomes hairy – Where do you draw the line? How do you explain discounts for one friend and not the other?
Before your friends or family start asking for discounts, you should decide if there will be any exceptions. For example, if you sincerely feel uncomfortable about charging full price, you could run a special event for “friends and family” only. If this is still something that doesn’t sit right with them, you need to be honest and explain. Here is a stock response you could start with:
I really appreciate that you want to support my business by trying my products; it means so much to me. I work very hard on taking the time to develop my business. I spend time and money to make sure everything is perfect. While I truly want you to be happy with your purchase and I understand if my prices are not what you’re hoping for, I want my business to succeed and grow, and right now, these are the prices that will allow me to achieve success.
This can be an incredibly uncomfortable situation, but the key is to turn it around by politely demonstrating that you are a business person and you are running your business. If you do ever want to make exceptions, make it few and far between, but more-so, be clear that this one time is an exception.
If you find people to be “repeat offenders,” you can draw them away by telling them to view your website or to sign up for your newsletter to learn when there will be scheduled promotions.
Remember – the biggest cost of running a business is your time. Time is the most expensive commodity because it cannot be replaced. You deserve to be compensated for your time, and had your business been any other retail store, your friends or family would not be sitting there and negotiating prices. Do not treat YOU or YOUR BUSINESS any differently than you would any other retail establishment. *People will treat you how you allow them to treat you.
If your friends and family truly want to see your business develop, they will respect the work you’re doing and the cost of your goods. If not, then they do not have to buy from you – they are simply just not your target market.
Are you in this situation? Need some more specific help, or maybe you have some more advice? Please comment below!