30% of business owners have turned to their friends in the last year in search of business advice.
This statistic alone shows the trust and confidence that many business owners around the country hold in their friends; however, can our friends really be good business advisors?
The Reasons Why
There are many reasons why our friends can be good business advisors. One reason so many business owners seek help from close friends is in part due to the positive and comfortable relationship that already exists. This leads to ease of communication, facilitates ‘frictionless’ discussions and allows for quick decisions to be made. There are many famous examples of friends that support each other’s businesses and even have remarkably successful businesses together (e.g., Ben and Jerry’s, Airbnb, etc.)
Friends also tend to think alike. Which is extremely beneficial especially if you are pitching an idea to a client or prospective customer. This chemistry can enable a pair, or even a group of friends to build strong, long-lasting relationships with other companies. Better chemistry is what typically distinguishes close loved ones from professional business advisors. And, quite frankly, this is a characteristic that can be hard to replicate in a professional capacity.
On the other hand, there are also quite a few risks that you run by seeking business advice from a friend due to the lack of expertise they might have. Your friends are not always qualified to give the best advice. Therefore, their advice could potential harm your business.
Additionally, their opinions can often lack objectivity and be biased to a certain extent. They may not alway give their true opinion out of fear of causing offence.
Also, the boundary between professionalism and a casual environment can be blurry. This can be a major downside of having a friend as a business advisor rather than a professional. For example, the co-founders of TheSquareFoot (An online commercial real estate platform.) say that they often forget the professional line in the sand and antagonise each other. “If, for example, the Houston Rockets lost in five games to the Golden State Warriors, I know that bringing that up will drive Justin nuts”.
Overall, there are many advantages and disadvantages to this idea of having a friend playing the role of your business advisor, but it seems better in the long run to appoint a professional who is qualified in his/her field. It will save you time -and potentially money – in the long-run and put your mind at ease so you can focus on the most important aspect of your business.
At H&Hendricks, our expert team is ready to support you with your most promising opportunities, and biggest challenges, as your most Trusted Advisor. We will help you to achieve your business ambitions and increase the overall value of your company.