Being an ambassador for Pacific Businesses
I came across an interesting Facebook post earlier this week that reminded me of work (while I was trying to not think about work):
What was really interesting to me was that on my timeline, the post was not being shared by business owners – but by family and friends of business owners. In general, Pacific people can be stand offish when it comes to asking for support and help from our family and friends. There are a couple of reasons that come to mind for this.
1) The fear of embarrassment from business owners to put themselves out there and to then fall short.
It can be a scary thing to start a business. An even scarier thing to ask for support in front of friends and family online – people whose opinion you value. This is even more of a burden for those not typically outgoing, extroverted or familiar with sales.
As a business owner: This will come down to your belief in yourself to execute your business plan and a belief in the service or product you offer. Things like validation and pitching (both workshops offered for free by PBT) can be a good start to solidifying your position to put yourself and your business out there.
As a family member or friend: You are the first point of contact for some business owners. Be inquisitive and give your feedback freely. Your comments and feedback at this early stage can go a long way to helping the business owner refine some aspects they may have overlooked. Be open, be honest, be respectful of their efforts.
2) Not wanting to be seen as a ‘show-off’
Nobody likes a show-off. Nobody in any culture likes a show-off. Perhaps because Pacific communities can be known to judge harshly and gossip, Pacific business owners feel a little more pressure to be careful about how they present their business offerings. While there are some business owners who couldn’t care less how they are perceived, there is a pressure among most Pacific businesses to be respectful and humble. This can often be misconstrued as not promoting the business at all or asking for help when needed.
As a business owner: It’s important to recognize that being respectful includes being respectful to yourself, your time, your family, your vision and your future. Being humble enough to ask for support and help when you need is an essential part of getting off the ground. If we never ask, we will never receive.
As a family member or friend: It’s easy to compare those trying to do something different to yourself and feel entitled or envious. I know because I am guilty of this at times as well. What’s important to remember is that by providing a little gesture of support, you plant a seed for them to grow toward success. But you also plant a seed for yourself so if you ever find yourself in a position of wanting to start a business venture, you have a friend or family member now more willing to pay it forward and support you. The name of the game is to get yourself out, then reach back and pull someone else out.
As the Facebook post suggests, friends and family members, be generous with your support.
A ‘Like’ takes a simple click. You’ll click your mouse or tap your screen hundreds of times a day – why not dedicate one of those ‘Likes’ toward a business you know.
A ‘Comment’ can change perspective so why not ask a question or even better, answer this question – does this business idea make sense to you and how would you make it better?
A ‘Share’ can reach networks beyond a business owner’s reach. If you’re sharing, you’re understanding the value of the business idea and putting the biggest smile on the business owners face.