Two friends laughing inside of a coffee shop.
From moral support to physical help, there are several different ways that your loved ones can support your business—they just may need some guidance from you first. — Getty Images/Kentaroo Tryman

Family and friends are our single biggest support network in life and, sometimes, in business. Community and family support often help business owners maintain their excitement and passion for the future amidst an uncertain economy and business environment.

Why loved ones’ support is so important in business

Loved ones’ support can help business owners manage stress, maintain a positive perspective, and develop a good sense of work-life balance. In addition to moral and emotional support, loved ones’ financial support can also help business owners lay the foundation for their businesses or provide a lifeline during hard times.

It can also prove helpful to share the responsibilities of running a business with loved ones — though it is important to set and maintain clear boundaries with them. Working with a loved one can change and even strain your relationship with them, so separate your working relationship from your personal relationship to preserve both.

5 ways family and friends can help support your business

There are a few different ways loved ones can support your business.

1. Financial support.

Financial assistance is one of the most common ways loved ones can support your business. Many family and friends provide informal loans, donations, or equity funding in which a business owner gives investors a percentage of their profits, some control of their business, or even both. This is especially common early on in your business when you’re lacking the funds to launch your company. If your family or friends do provide you with a loan, draw up a contract that clearly lays out the terms of the loan to avoid miscommunications.

2. Partnerships.

Business owners may decide to take the leap and enter a partnership with a loved one or significant other. As mentioned earlier, 46% of people enter into a partnership with their spouse or partner and 96% of those people have said that they enjoy working together. Having a partner means a business owner can go over ideas with someone who knows the ins and outs of their industry. Partners also bring new perspectives and skills to the table when dealing with challenges.

[Read More: The Three Keys to Success and Failure in Family Businesses]

3. Moral support.

Starting a business has its ups and downs and, in many cases, moral support is just as important, if not more important, as financial support. During hard times, emotional support from friends and family can help maintain business owners’ excitement and hope for the future. If you find yourself in hard times, don’t isolate yourself from your loved ones. Instead, be sure to let them know exactly the kind of moral and emotional support you need. Oftentimes, they want to reach out but may not know what they can do to help.

During hard times, emotional support from friends and family can help maintain business owners’ excitement and hope for the future.

4. Referrals.

As you share more of your business dealings with your loved ones, they may refer people to your business. To show your loved ones how their support matters, make their referrals a top priority. Be sure that any customers they refer to your business feel appreciated and important.

Referrals can also come from the community — another valuable area of potential support for your business. If you and your loved ones are involved in the community, they will also be invested in seeing your business succeed.

[Read more: How Community-Driven Brand Made in Corpus Christi Supports Local Creatives]

5. Physical help.

Depending on the type of business you have, your loved ones can offer physical help as well. Whether it be volunteering to help you run an event or setting up office space, there are plenty of ways for your loved ones to provide your business with physical assistance.

Depending on your business, your community might be able to provide physical support as well. It is always best to get involved in your community, so you and your business become known and valuable entities. By developing a relationship with your community, you’ll also have more opportunities to give back to your supporters within the community, including your loved ones.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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