TOW#602 — Support!

“Sad, but true…

> Kylie Jenner puts her name on lipstick and people buy it.

> Michael Jordan unveils new shoes and people buy them.

> Apple launches a new mobile phone and people line up to buy it.

> Michael Kors puts out a bag and it goes viral.

> Starbucks opens a new branch in your city and it’s packed on the first day.

But when a friend or family starts a new business… people think twice about supporting it.

How come we’re so quick to support strangers? Meanwhile, we find a thousand excuses not to support someone we know and love, even though it won’t cost us anything.

Please, next time a friend of yours posts from their business: like, comment, share or help spread the word somehow.”

This is part of a post I found from a girl who shared it on FB. I don’t know who she was referring to nor who she was supporting, but I was moved and inspired by her message. To be honest, I’ve found myself in the same situation. One of the biggest challenges and difficulties we had in the development of our business, despite all the usual problems (finances, inexperience, competition, sales, novice mistakes, etc.), was dealing with the lack of support or, even more difficult, the negative attitude of the people closest to us. “That’s not the right way to do it”, “you’re making fools of yourselves”, “why are you bothering”, “get a job somewhere”, “you won’t succeed”, “this is hard”… and many other motivational messages we had to deal with and listen to every day… multiple times! You can imagine how it affects your motivation!?

All those ‘concerned souls’ around you can be divided into several types:

Sincere supporters: I have to mention them first. They are few or were few, but you can really see or feel that they believe in you, support you in your endeavours and are happy for you. It can be family, friends, close or distant acquaintances. I have a cousin who hasn’t given up on us since the day we opened the business, and he constantly supports us, though he did say that we’ll need to buy him a car when we get rich. ☺

Family (close): These guys, it’s not that they want to demotivate or harm you, they just want to protect you and not see you burdened, so they’re always advising you with an ‘exit’ strategy.

Family (relatives) / close friends: Can be divided into:

- indifferent, neither here nor there;

- help sincerely;

- help because they have to;

- aren’t happy for you if you succeed.

Close advisors: I don’t know if it’s for protection purposes, or if it’s envy, but their general attitude is “that’s not the right way”. They don’t say “you can’t, you don’t know”, but that you’re going about things the wrong way and they tell you how it should be done. Naturally, they’re not even interested in getting to know the whole picture or what you’re struggling with — they’re more interested in sounding smart, rather than helping you.

Strangers: The strangest thing is that you get the most support from strangers. Someone you met through work, at an event, that heard about you, or even people that you’ve never met. And this takes us back to the girl’s post at the top, that we find it much easier to support people we don’t know than someone close to us.

My position is that I support everyone. I’ll support anyone with the stupidest and craziest ideas. Well, now, as a consultant, especially in the field of business development, my job is to ‘predict’ which business models are good and which aren’t so good. I always try to point out all the negative aspects of their business, what can happen, what are their weaknesses and barriers that they might face, and I try to get them to give up. However, if I see that they’re tough and persistent, despite all my ‘logical business hurdles’, that they believe in themselves, their model and so won’t give up, then I give them my full support. And I always tell them that they can use me as much as they want for advice and ideas. Even if their business idea, the initiative fails, I don’t feel sorry for them at all, instead I help them understand that that’s the best possible business lesson and that it has made them much stronger and wiser.

Don’t be dumb, support your loved ones in their intentions. Few dare to go outside their comfort zone, and your support is needed and will mean a lot to them.

Wishing you success with the changes to come,

Petar Lazarov

Member of the Team

If you would like to receive these texts by e-mail or you think that some of your colleagues, associates or friends might be interested in them, please get in touch at

tow@macedonia-export.com

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