Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Little things mean a lot to start ups:

Friends and family offer $8,000 worth of free advice
By Motherpedia
Date: August 20 2014
Editor Rating:

Home-based businesses are now the fastest growing small business sector in Australia, with women three times more likely than men to have the pluck to start their own, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

And a new report by AXA insurance showing they’re not doing it alone with over two in five (41%) of 260 small business owners saying they would not have succeeded without the help, advice and support of family and friends.

From property advice to PR, each small business entrepreneur receives an average of 574 hours of free support and advice from friends and family in their first year.

Two in five SME owners (41%) admit they would not have succeeded without help from family and friends

The top ten skills offered by friends and family to SME owners:

  • Administrative support
  • IT support
  • Product or service sampling and feedback
  • Building and construction work
  • Purchasing advice
  • Website creation and design
  • Selling advice
  • Marketing/PR/Advertising
  • Property advice
  • Professional Financial/Accountancy advice

Putting their entrepreneurial skills into practice, SME owners resourced their business with 41 hours of free administrative support and 36 hours of free IT support from friends and family in the first year of business.

They also received advice on more specialist subjects, with an average of 6.5 hours offered on professional legal consultancy and 5.4 hours on free insurance advice.

Monetary contributions from friends and family also play a part in getting a business off the ground, with family members investing nearly 1,800 in the first 12 months.

However, the research also highlights the importance of the little, non-commercial things that friends and family do which really mean a lot to budding entrepreneurs, with two in five small business owners (40%) saying they received an average of 60 hours of emotional support and nearly three weeks of free childcare (20 days) from family members in year one.

Family and friends not only lend an ear or a shoulder to lean on, they are also one of the main reasons entrepreneurs decide to set up their business.

One in five (21%) cited encouragement from their family and friends as the top motivation to set up on their own, and one in eight (12%) said they were inspired by a change in family requirements.

The little things that friends and family members have done to help start up businesses have not gone unnoticed, with almost one in five SME entrepreneurs (22%) saying that they would take their supporters out for a nice meal to say thank you, and one in 25 promising to take supporting friends and family members on holiday.

“Setting up a business takes a lot of hard work and determination to succeed so little things that friends and family do to help out really mean a lot,” says Darrell Sansom, Managing Director of AXA Business Insurance.

Corryn Barakat, owner of online store Milk and Love, started her small business out of a spare bedroom with a desire to make a difference in the world, and to support other breastfeeding mums in Australia.


She has been nominated for the 2014 AusMumpreneur Awards and says support from her  family has been key to her success.

"Milk and Love would not be where it is today without the help and support of my husband. When I first had the idea to start the business he was my cheerleader and supporter, he never suggested we couldn't make it work, or that it was risky, but instead was behind the idea 100%."
"Fast forward to today, and he happily spends his evenings designing our graphics, managing our inventory and liaising with our suppliers and key advertisers." 
"He's been involved with everything from sense checking my stock orders to being a sounding board for my more 'out there' ideas. Even more importantly, we share the house work and child care equally, and make time for the business. I couldn't have done it without him," said Barakat.
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