YOUNG BLACK ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE

THE SPRING FORWARD ISSUE

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THE FRIEND

-VOICE

BY JOHNNY CLARKSON

Many young entrepreneurs sit around and dream of launching industry shattering titans like Ben and Jerry’s, Google, and Whole Foods. However, most of these dreams never leave the dream stage. A few of these dreams become plans, but less than 10% manage to materialize. More of these dreams would flourish if the focus was on doing business together as opposed to simply “doing.”

 

 By definition business is described as either “the practice of making one's living by engaging in commerce” or “a person's regular occupation, profession, or trade.” So in order to do business there must be some form of transaction even amongst friends. This is where I have found the most trouble when dealing with young entrepreneurs. Your services are expected to be on time and of the highest quality, but your payment is expected to be an extension of your friendship. This is what I call a “Friend-Voice.”

 

Please don’t mistake this for a devaluation of the barter system. Bartering implies that both parties receive something of equal value. If I am simply providing a service that you accept and profit from solely, it is not a barter. In all actuality, I am being pimped! That doesn’t sound too friendly does it? 

 

This ignorant approach to business is why most family businesses fail. There are two important rules to

follow for a successful venture with a friend or loved one.

 

Rule #1: Never contract services with a friend for the purpose of receiving a discount. This is insulting to their craft and disrespectful to your bond with them. It shows a serious lack of maturity regarding business practices.

 

Rule #2: Maintain your standards. Do not inflate the cost of your services, and never decrease the value of your work because there is a personal relationship attached to the project.