Do you have a friend who is embarking on an exciting entrepreneurial journey or perhaps a former colleague who is going out to strike it on his or her own? You may think that the only way you could help is to offer contacts for potential customers, but in fact, there are many cheap and free ways that you could support your friend.
As an entrepreneur, I know first-hand that when money comes in, entrepreneurs tend to invest it back into the business rather than on themselves. The following ideas aim to support the entrepreneur.
Time at a co-working space
Starting your own business can be a lonely endeavor, and many entrepreneurs try to save money by working from home. Transitioning from a team environment to working by yourself all day can be very challenging. Gift your friend some time at a coworking space for a morale boost. Many coworking spaces offer day passes or short term trials for a small fee.
Being an entrepreneur requires many skills, and without a formal training budget, many entrepreneurs forgo investing in their own professional development. Attending workshops and conferences can enable your friend to take time off from running the day to day and build skills to increase the chance of startup success. You can gift this in the form of a training gift card from your local training provider or buying access to a well-reviewed online course. If you don’t have the budget for this, simply researching relevant conferences and events can help your friend.
Does spending your days doing whatever you want and working wherever you like sound like a dream? Studies actually show that entrepreneurs are very stressed. Encourage your friend to spend some time away from the office (or home office!) with a voucher to a yoga class. If your friend is not the yoga type, then consider a gym pass or a meditation class. Bonus points if you can accompany your friend there.
Printing credit for marketing materials
It is very likely that your friend’s business will need a solid sales and marketing effort to get off the ground. Beautiful and professional marketing materials help build trust with potential customers and stakeholders. A great gift to new entrepreneurs is credit to a professional marketing materials printing service. You could even volunteer to help create marketing materials if you have great design or copywriting skills.
Incorporating plants into workspaces have been known to reduce stress. Attach a nice note of encouragement together with the plant. A new succulent could be your friend’s Wilson in a lonely home office. Alternatively, a weekly walk together in a nearby park is a great way to help your friend decompress.
And finally, your time
Is your friend launching a pop-up shop, a demo workshop or a market stall? Offer to help set up before and clean up after. Organizing events that end up being sparsely attended is often part of the start-up journey, and having a friendly face in the room can help to make those situations hurt a bit less. If the event is bustling, then you can be there to celebrate the success. Bring a small bottle of champagne or a card to celebrate a first event as a milestone.
At the end of the day, small gestures like these make a significant impact on the morale of new entrepreneurs.
May is Co-founder and Programme Lead for Learnitect, a Learning and Development platform designed to help organizations retain, develop and motivate their Millennial talent.