Your friend Sarah calls you up and tells you that she just started a new business. She is selling for Pesach free range eggs directly to the consumer. She wants to know when she can drop by and show them to you.
As an astute consumer, you ask her right there on the phone about price, minimum orders and quality before inviting her to your home. She explains to you that though the price is higher than at the supermarket, that her eggs are free range, organic, and much bigger.
After hearing the price you reply that you will consult with your spouse and get back to her. A week later she calls you again and you tell her that you did not have a chance to speak to your spouse, and anyway you just got home from shopping and have enough eggs for the entire chag.
Can you imagine how Sarah would feel if the first ten friends she called responded like that? She would probably be depressed, regretting investing most of her savings in the new biz, and hiding from her husband who told her it was a bad idea to get into that business in the first place.
Sarah is not selling items such as computers, air conditioning systems or water filters that you might not need right at this moment. She is selling eggs – everyone needs those! How difficult is it to congratulate your friend on her initiative and invite her immediately to show you her product? If her eggs are bigger and better, what can you lose by buying from her?
Many people are not sensitive enough to understand what goes on in the mind of the new entrepreneur, and how fragile such a person can be during the early days of a new business.
There are also some people who will accept Sarah’s offer to visit their homes and then proceed to squeeze her for as much as possible to get a great deal. “Sarah, we’re good friends, what’s the best price you can give us?” If you are such a good friend then don’t choke her! Let her earn a living. I always wonder why the “seller friend” has to be the one reducing profit. Why, if I’m such a good friend, should I expect her to earn less from me than other people? Shouldn’t I, on the contrary, feel that I want to be more profitable than the average client? At the very least I can pay the regular rate; and, if I can afford it, it would be nice to order a bit extra to ensure that she earns good money. This will keep her positive and enthusiastic, which is 90% of what she needs to succeed.
How many times have we heard the “client friend” say “I’ll buy now buy half of the minimum order to test the product if you give me a 30% discount”? With friends like that, who needs enemies!?
I’m not necessarily suggesting that we should buy everything from our friends when they start a business, although it would be nice if we could. I’m merely suggesting that we should be conscious that their success in their new business may very well depend on us. “Love your neighbor as yourself,” says the Torah. Let’s do whatever we can to help her exactly as we would wish, in the same situation, to be helped ourselves.
Chag Pesach Kasher V’Sameach!