Tips: 5 ways to help your friend's business
A few days ago, I gave a ride to Chris, one of my best homies in Ann Arbor. Through our conversation, he asked me how my business was doing and if he could do anything to help.
It was very kind of him. Since his question, I have been thinking about a few things that we can do to help our Artist Friends (or Small Business Friends) without too much commitment.
I might seem silly but people rarely encourage you to do your thing. My wife does it, she is amazing at it. In fact, since I met her my photography skills, my business welfare and my inspiration have gone through the roof (It is how you said in English? Correct?).
In French, we would say that Lora's influence grew me wings. And I fly over difficulty because of it. My family and my friends are amazing allies. You can encourage and support in a different way; it is very easy and it will also make you happy.
Next time you admire one of my pictures, claim your work as well: Encouragements are the most important part of our careers - Without them, it is so easy to give up.
If you spend a bit of time on social media you can follow the next point and kill two birds with one stone!
The social media era is amazing. You can "like" everything your friends do. But even more important than liking is commenting and sharing. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are your passive ways to help your friends and still be able to procrastinate.
If you want to ramp-up your friend's social media... Keep liking and start commenting and sharing a few times a week. The way Facebook sorts the newsfeed makes it crucial to comment and share over liking. Nothing complicated: a simple smiley or a word to follow your like will have an unbelievable effect on your friend's business.
If you need some inspiration, here are some of my favorite positive English words:
(Got anymore great words? Drop it in a comment).
Know the best customer
The world is very small, especially with networks and daily life! What if the father of your kid's BFF is the perfect customer for your friend's business? Or your coworker's wife?
Get to know your friend's main or best customer. For example, I am generally hired by a Marketing, Communication or Media Specialist or Strategist.
In Ann Arbor, I have been introduce to two of my best clients by my neighbor, Pavel! He is a great friend, and he LOVES networking - It is his second nature, but believe me, it is not complicated.
Simply ask your contact: "Can I put you in touch with my good friend MG? He is a photographer and I am sure you will both love to work together".
Be active and get a business card, pass his business card, or put them in touch with a common email.
Simply render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's. It will cost a bit of time and personal investment but your friends deserve it, don't they?
If you have used your friend's service or gotten a taste of it, please be sure to let people know he is your friend and he is solid at his craft.
Recently a friend used a portrait I snapped on Facebook. He mentioned my name and the growth of our friendship in the description. Three hour later, I received an email for a very good contract. A common friend with him saw the profile picture and my name... Then, my name naturally came.
Giving a name, passing a business card is good. But when you personally mention your relationship with a business you make a deep impact. People will remember the business as "My friend of a friend" and are way more likely to trust the service provided. So mention a sweet story or a fun fact - Make the difference, be personal.
Comparing and recommending
Maybe the most difficult part of this blog post and very specific to photography. Not a week goes by without someone showing me some random photos on their phone or coming up with a new idea for my business.
It is not a problem, but would you ever come with sample of your cooking for the chef when you go to a restaurant? Or would you recommend that high priced French restaurant start doing a US diner style menu? Yes - I do love US diners, too.
Actually, if you really believe in your craft and want to have a professional advice or If you really get the BBIE (Best Business Idea Ever), AWESOME: Let's do it - Propose your best cake or your best advice!
But choose carefully your moment.
I rarely have time when I am in the field for work to listen to unrelated ideas. But I am always happy to hear your proposition over a coffee!
Greg, a friend from Indianapolis, came up with a great idea for my business a year ago - I applied it to my business and it works very well! I will always listen and look.
I discover so much great talent through random sharing - You should be encouraged to share your creation, but be smart. Yes, as your friend I love to look at your memories.
In conclusion, Yes - You can make the difference in your friend's business. Believe me, these few things can have a huge impact - Actually, word of mouth is the most important part of a business' welfare.
Support of friends and relatives are key to the success of any artist.