Financing Your Small Business: Should You Ask Your Friends and Family?

The Hartford

For a lot of small business owners who are just starting out, turning to friends and family for some initial financial assistance might seem like a safer option than applying for a traditional loan. However, raising capital through the help of loved ones is not without its own set of risks and consequences. In this episode, Jon Aidukonis and Gene Marks, along with Leonardo Shapiro, discuss how small business owners can approach friends and family for financial investments without putting a strain on those personal relationships.

Executive Summary

0:58—Today’s Topic: Should I Ask My Friends and Family to Help Finance My Small Business?

1:40—Integrity and transparency are the essential components of any financial arrangement. However, they are especially important when those agreements have been made with your friends and family.

3:10—While it’s easier to turn to friends and family for financial assistance, business owners should avoid approaching loved ones who can’t afford it because of the consequences.

8:14—Even though you are dealing with friends and family, you still need to be upfront with them about the terms of this financial arrangement; by clearly stating whether this is a loan or an investment, you can prevent any future confusion or disappointment.

10:23—Don’t be surprised if the personal friends and relations who helped finance your small business start scrutinizing your operations or your spending. After all, they have a right to know how their money is being used.

11:53—Because your friends and family may feel obligated to finance your business due to their preexisting relationship with you, you need to assure them that it is also okay if they decline your offer.

17:46—Given both the emotional and the financial investment that you are asking of your loved ones, you may be better off inviting them to be a co-owner rather than asking them for a loan.

19:29—Treat this financial arrangement as you would any other professional agreement, complete with legally binding contracts.

20:25—If the terms of the loan or investment are really impacting your personal relationship with someone, you might want to consider buying out their share to salvage the friendship.

22:24—Although transparency is always a good idea, you as a business owner get to determine how much time you want to spend updating your investors.

23:59—You need to explain to your friends and family how dilution works and how it will impact their personal shares once more investors join.

25:36—To prevent friction between outside investors and your personal relations, it helps to appoint one person to speak on behalf of your friends and family during formal business meetings.

27:07—Educate your friends and family about all the technicalities and risks involved with this business venture beforehand.

29:35—Never underestimate the importance of a good lawyer who understands your business and can advise you on all aspects of this financial agreement, including all the legal documents.

Links

Transcript

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Jon: Good morning, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of Small Biz Ahead, the small business podcast presented by The Hartford. This is Jon. I am joined by my co-host Gene Marks. Gene, how you doing today?

Gene: I am doing okay, Jon, and very interested for this conversation to take place so people can hear it. I don’t know if I have a single friend or a family member that I would consider borrowing money from, but it’s a big source of capital for small businesses, so interesting conversation about to happen.

Jon: That is true. So yes, if you’re listening or watching, because we’re now doing video. Welcome to the 21st century, right? You probably already got the indication from the title and the intro that we are here to talk about different ways you can raise capital for your small business. And this episode specifically is around raising money from friends and family. So to give us their perspective on that, we have Leonardo Shapiro, who has a history of founding and co-founding a couple companies that were really built around democratizing access to capital and funds to business owners who might not historically been as served as those with privilege. I think he’s got point of view on lending. I think he’s going to be able to talk about the pros and cons about asking people for money, how you should, how you shouldn’t. And I think it’s going to be a really valuable conversation on a different way to think about revenue for your business, so we will welcome Leonardo to the chat.

Leonardo : Morning, guys. Thank you for having me.

Jon: Oh, thank you for joining us. So Leonardo, maybe to get started, you can just tell our listeners a little bit about you and your journey as a founder and someone who’s built a career on helping people access the means to do their own thing.

Leonardo : Sure, Jon. Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here. I mean, I think raising money for friends and family, it’s always tricky but it’s a maybe easier source of capital, so there’s a lot of dos and don’ts over there. And I think I have my fair share of misses and hits there, so happy to share. So, I’m originally from Mexico City. I moved to the Bay area, I think about 10 years ago. I started three companies, one in Mexico, two in the U.S., and all of them had some component of raising money. I mean, they were all venture back companies, so we had VCs, we had professional investors, we had family offices, we had all those guys, but the first little checks were always friends and family. And I think there’s a thin red line there. It’s a fine balance. It can go really well. It can go really bad. And I think it’s just about integrity and about transparency.

Jon: Yeah, no, that’s great, so it’s interesting that you said the first like drops in the bucket tended to come from friends and family, so maybe we just start there. So you have an idea, you’re thinking about getting it going, you need the capital to do it, or you need to start thinking about how do I finance this new idea? And some people might decide they want to work while they do that. Some people might not be able to, because the idea is going to take up all their passion, their breath, their air, their time. They’re not going to sleep. They’re going to be building this new thing, so you need to go to people who you know and love and trust to get a little bit to get started. So what’s conversation like that like, and to your point, how do you set it up to be transparent and to set some bare expectations? And how do you really know what to ask for?

Leonardo : My first company was when I was getting right out of college, so I had pretty much $0 in the bank account. So the need for raising money from friends and family was just to keep the lights on, just to start the company. The first one was mom and dad. And it was an interesting conversation because I mean, to set up the frame, it was early 2000s. The internet was just starting. A lot of people didn’t know exactly what the thing was. And when I was trying to describe my business, a lot of people just gave me a quick pat pat in the back and they told me just, “Why don’t you get a real job, right? What is this thing about inventing stuff?” It was just too very, very new.

I think I approached it like a son would approach mom and a dad and it was, “Well, I have this idea and maybe you guys don’t understand what this is, but this is going to change. It’s going to revolutionize the world.” And it was pretty much sales pitch, right? I mean, I was trying to sell my mom and I was trying to sell my dad on the idea that were going to give me a little bit of money to do something. At that time, I think I was young and I didn’t even think about the implications of getting a sense from your family, right? I didn’t know what was the financial responsibility are we getting into, I didn’t know what was the expectation from the other part of reporting back and to give you some information.

And again, mom and dad are mom and dad and in this particular case, my mom and dad, I mean, did support me with a little bit of money. They both said, “Well, I don’t understand exactly what you’re doing. I don’t understand anything of what you’re doing, but I mean, we will support you.” And it was much more a, “How much do you need,” right? And it was like, “Well, I need this.” “Well, we can give you that.” That was the first time when I said like, “Hmm, this is easy, right? You just go and you ask for people for money.”

And anyways, so that was the first injection of capital into the company. We didn’t even document that as anything. I mean, I didn’t know that you had to do anything and you had to do saves, you have to do promissory notes, convertible notes, whatever mechanism that you wanted to use to convert money. And of course, that money evaporated in a second, right? So it was like, “Okay, let’s do it again,” and it was not going to be mom and anymore. It was going to be the next one. And I think that’s when it gets more interesting. I mean, I think we go to friends and family because it feels that is a easier, closer source of capital because there’s this preexisting relationship of trust that somehow is hedging your success rate as a founder or your FICO score or whatever other mechanism it’s required for you to get capital.

I pitched, in this particular case, two of my closest friends. And I think this is when I learned some of the basic. So I think the first one is you should never pitch somebody that you know cannot afford it. And I did that. I was not super clear that I was pitching somebody who could not afford it, but when business happens and sometimes business doesn’t go as you expect it, if that person was counting on that money as, I don’t know, tuition or for more primary need, you’re going to get in trouble, so I think that was my rule number one. I mean, even though I think as you develop a track record as an entrepreneur and some of those investments, I mean, you got good exits and you can give back good returns.

I learned that and is one of my friends, even though that this might be a great opportunity, I approach my friends and told them, “Let’s just imagine that you went to Vegas, right? And you’re willing to use X amount of dollars on the table or in a roulette or whatever. This is exactly the same thing, right? The minute that you give me this check, you have to consider that this is gone. And if you cannot approach this investment from that perspective, I’d rather be your friend forever and go and drink some beers and eat some tacos than actually getting into, ‘Well, you lost my money that I was going to use for tuition for my kids.'”

Jon: Right. And well, it’s interesting you say that, because it is still a business transaction. And I think that’s probably where it’s hard to have those conversations because I think sometimes people want to go to family or friends because it’s like, “You know me. You trust me.” To your point, “You’re not looking at my FICO score. You might have the means, you might not.” But I think there’s a couple things to consider is that they’re really making a behavioral-based decision, right, so it is like a lender. Do you have the track record and the means and the expectation that you’re going to have the means to pay this back, but I think the other thing is it’s not so much a victimless crime if you don’t.

So if this is really a loan versus a gift or a loan that’s expected to be paid back the same way when you lend someone 20 bucks and I’m going to get it back the next day, it’s a different mentality, right? And there is a sense of that personal obligation, I would think, both from the person asking and the person giving, that this money isn’t coming from a capital source of a private bank or being raised off interest of other things. It could be someone’s college savings. It could be someone’s retirement. It could be their rainy day healthcare fund, so both understanding that it could be gone, but I think there’s probably even more of a sense of obligation to you as a borrower to say, “I really want to pay this back,” because the last thing you’d want to do really is hurt somebody you care about.

Leonardo : Yeah. I think you said something pretty important, Jon, over there, which is, I think when you pitch somebody, when you get investment from a friend, you need to understand, you need to be really straight if this is a loan or this is an investment, right? If this is a loan, people would expect to get it back and they would expect to get it back in certain timeframe and probably with certain capital gain on the loan. If this is an investment, it’s less known and people who are not professional investors, have never invested in the business before, they might not know the difference, right? So I think it’s super important to be transparent and say, “I don’t know when I’m going to give you this money back. I don’t know if I’m going to give you this money back. I have no idea what the return is. And this is what I’m planning to do with your money.”

Something that it’s really interesting as well is how the behavior of your friends change the minute that you do a financial transaction. I remember one of my dear friends, the next time we saw each other, he received me in his office, right? And it was just like, “What’s going on here?” Right? He was like, “Well, I would love you to give me a report on the business.” And it was like, “What are you talking about? What kind report are you expecting?” It’s like, “Well, we just gave you money, right? And the same way that I treat my other investors, I want to know. How’s the product going? Do you have targets? Are you meeting expectations? Basic business hypothesis turn out to be true?” And it like, “Whoa, this is so strange.” Right? I mean, I think it changes a lot and I think it’s pretty important to set the bases in the beginning.

Or another thing that was pretty important is also set the expectations as how much time you’re going to devote to give info, right? When you’re running a business and you really want to be as nimble as possible and you want to be able to execute. And the last thing they want to do is, somebody calling you like, “Hey, can you give me a report of the business right now?” It’s like, “No, I’ll send an email once a month saying how we’re progressing at the time.”

Jon: Right. Well, it’s interesting because I think sometimes it’s hard to be direct with your friends and family. We often want to err on the side of, pleasant conversation than probably how we would have to think about our business communications, right? So what’s interesting, and what I’ve seen from folks who have taken personal relationships and made them investment relationships, is that the lenders in that case don’t always understand the difference between investing in something and co-owning or managing or consulting on something because I think it’s really easy when you know someone and you say, “Okay, I gave you 50 grand to go chase your dream. I have an opinion on how you should do that and because I know you and I’m uncomfortable with you and I trust you, and maybe in some cases, you’re my kid, I’m going to let you know my opinion on how you should do what you do.”

And it can be a little awkward, right, to draw some of those boundaries. So I think your just very first statement about being really upfront on what this is, how or how this should not impact our relationship, and what your expectation should be as someone who’s agreeing to give me this source of funding is really important, because I think the lines get really murky when you talk about people who you know personally. And I think it all starts from good places, right? I think everyone’s expertise is usually good intent because they want you to do the right thing, but the right thing in their mind might not be the right thing for your business and that can be an interesting conversation to have, I’ve witnessed.

Leonardo : Yeah. I think in the argo of this profession, they tell you that the most expensive money is the one that you don’t have, and I think I would change it. I think the most expensive money is the one that makes you lose a friendship. And I think definitely approach it from that perspective and be really, really just savvy on how and from who you’re going to ask, right? I mean, in very specific cases, since you were mentioning at the beginning, you’re not giving them a lot of choice, right, when you say, “Hey, I need 50, 10, whatever.” It feels that they’re going to have an obligation of do it because of the preexisting relationship. And I think it’s also super important to say and just to give them a way out, right? And when I’m pitching somebody, it’s like, “And if this is not a good time, you have other plans, if you’re a little bit stretched too thin, don’t worry about it. I mean, I’m just giving you the opportunity because I think it’s probably going to be a good business, but just don’t feel obligated, just feel forced to do this and something that you just don’t want to do.”

Jon: Yeah. I think, and I’m sure Gene, just even the comments on returns and interesting contracts, I think you’re going to have a point of view there and a lot of questions and I want to give you the chance to get to those. But I think the one other thing, looking from the point of view of the lender, is that it’s a good point, Leonardo, on setting the expectations. But also I think understanding that personal money tends to be more emotional and it’s not just 5 or $10,000. That could be a wedding, right? That could be a family vacation or a memory or something that you can’t really quantify, so I do think that when you think about requesting that money from people, it’s hard for them sometimes, to draw the line in the sand, if it’s a true loss or an investment that goes the other way or just takes longer to recoup, right?

Because it’s not just the cash, it’s what they could have done or the belief of what they could have done or the romanticized version of what that money could have been. And I think it’s also sometimes that money isn’t just theirs, right? It could be the pressure of what a family member thinks because they don’t have access to it, so whether that’s a spouse or a kid or someone they support. So it is something, I think, to very seriously consider, because I really like that comment about the most expensive money is the one that makes you lose a relationship. And sometimes the perceived cost or value is much different, just because it comes from a place of emotion and a place of aspiration, which it’s a different ballgame. But Gene, I know you’re hungry to get in on terms, so I’m going to…

Gene: I am, yeah. I mean, it’s a great conversation. Leonardo, so you’ve started a few different companies in your entrepreneurial life and I think your most recent venture, if I’m not correct, it’s called Brex, B-R-E-X, @brex.com. Can you tell us a little bit of about that company?

Leonardo : Yeah. And just to be clear, I wish that was my company. That’s not a company that I started, but Brex is a financial services company that’s headquartered in San Francisco and it’s mostly providing financial services for midsize and venture back companies.

Gene: Got it. And financial services meaning loans, capital, that sort of thing, correct?

Leonardo : Yeah. It’s around credit cards and accounts to store money and so forth, yes.

Gene: Good. Okay, that’s great. So you mentioned earlier in the past that you have raised money in some of your entrepreneurial ventures from friends and family. The impression I got was that it was mostly loans. Is that right? You mentioned about shifting between whether it’s debt or equity, somebody’s going to buy into a company, and you lean more towards debt over equity. Is that a fair statement?

Leonardo : It was more around equity. It was convertible notes at the beginning, so it was some sort of a debt, but with the idea that he was going to be invested as equity on the company.

Gene: Got it, because I got to imagine. I mean, knowing you, in the brief time that we’ve met and looking into doing a little research about you, this is not the last company you’re going to be involved with. I know you’ve got more companies to start, I can tell, in the future. And when you do that, based on everything you’ve learned so far, you’re trying to raise capital and let’s assume you do want to go to family and friends to raise some money. Would you lean more towards, towards selling shares of a new venture or would you prefer to just borrow money from a family member or a friend? Would you lean either way?

Leonardo : I think it’s going to depend on the type of company that you’re building, right? I mean, most of the work that I’ve done, it’s been around creating enterprise value that at some point is going to have an exit. And in that particular case, it’s always better, at least my perspective, to sell the idea that you’re co-owning or you’re just getting a bit of the company. I haven’t done a loan, just typical, just create just very clear loan with terms with friends. I think I would feel really stressed out if I would do that.

Gene: If you just had a loan, you’re saying.

Leonardo : Yeah, I think when I’ve done these things before, I’m asking my friends and family to share the risk and share the upside, right? So the idea is, I always start the business with, “We’re going to do this and this is the idea. This is the concept that we’re trying to build.” And 1 out of 1000 times, we’re going to be successful, right? But if we are going to be successful, Google is going to go and buy your business, right? And then, it’s going to be a different conversation. I haven’t done the one, which is like, “I’m going to borrow some money from you. And eventually I’m just going to repay it back with some interest.”

Gene: If you’re doing these transactions, how deep in the paperwork did you get with your family or your friends? Did you have formal written, here’s a note agreement or here’s a share agreement with them or was it more of a handshake?

Leonardo : No, it’s completely legal. I mean, I tried to do it as kosher as possible, right, and make sure that everybody understands what’s going on and everyone understands what documents they’re signing. And I mean, my dad just slipped me the papers. It was like, “I don’t need this.” I was like, “No, dad. You do need this, right? And if you don’t need that, I need that, right? I need you to know that what we’re doing is structured and I need you to know that eventually when we need to have a conversation of whatever conversation we need to have, there’s going to be a paper that we need to go and we can reference and say, ‘This is the terms that we agreed.'”

Gene: Did you ever feel any self consciousness about, now you’re weaved in with your family and friends. They see how you’re spending your money, like, “Oh, Leonardo just bought a new car, must be good for him with my money that I lent him.” Did you ever run into those experiences, where you were just self conscious about how you were spending your money because you knew that you had families and friends that could be seeing what you’re doing and may question?

Leonardo : Yeah, actually I did. It was a very uncomfortable conversation with one of my investors. It’s not something I would’ve not done, but I was taking a vacation and he called me and he was like, “Oh, where are you?” I was like, “Oh, I’m in whatever.” And he was like, “You shouldn’t be working?” And it’s like, “Yeah, I work 11, 15, 13 hours a day. I need a vacation.” He’s like, “Yeah, but it feels weird that I just gave you some money and you’re taking a vacation.” And what I told him is, “Okay, you’re getting a check in the mail with your money back, so I’m going to personally buy your shares. I’m going to personally do whatever you want to do. I don’t want to have this conversation anymore. I still want to be your friend, but yeah, I don’t feel…” And again, maybe he was in his right mind to say, “Well, I just gave you money. Why are you taking vacation? Why you’re not working with it?” It tends to have those conversations, right? It can happen.

Gene: Yeah, it certainly does. And listen, in any business, a lot of my clients, there’s partners. I have one client’s got three brothers and they’re all married they all know what each other’s up to in their personal lives, and yet they’re all equity owners in the business. So they talk, their spouses talk, sometimes it complicates things. How about, Leonardo, how about sharing information? If a family member or friend loans you money, or even if they buy shares in your company, which is a minority purchase, how have you thought about the obligation to then share with them the financials of your company? Is it their business or not and how have you handled that?

Leonardo : I try to be as transparent as possible without actually causing a big overhead on the company, so, I mean, I think nothing is off the table with your investors, right? I mean, I think it’s less about transparency of information. It’s more about the time commitment of sharing those up. And it’s part of the negotiation, when we’re about to raise money. It’s like, “Okay, this is how it’s going to work. I’m going to send a newsletter. I’m going to send an email once a month, right? I’m going to give you the most important milestones. If you have any particular questions, feel free just to give me a call. But please, I’m really building a product here and running a company here. I don’t want to have the obligation or the time to be with you on the phone for 30 minutes.”

And of course, as you were saying Gene, sometimes you get phone calls like, “Hey, I think that you probably should be doing this differently.” And I mean, I think it’s great. Every advice is good advice, but yeah, again, I think it’s all around setting the expectations when things are starting. I think there are two other pretty interesting things that happen there, at least on the work, when you’re getting investors. Dilution is something that people just don’t understand, if you’re not a professional investor. At the beginning, you get a convertible note or something that says that you owe 10% of the company and six months later something happens. And when you’re starting, it’s like, “What happened to my 10%? There were other people came, but you never told me about dilution.”

And it’s like, “Well, I thought you knew that when other people put money and new money have preference of other money and it’s a very, very, very tricky world. And I think companies like AngelList or all those having facilitating this process of creating, and this is what I did in my last company. I created an LLC and it was like, “Okay, it’s going to be friends and founders and friends and family.” And it was a vehicle that was shielding all the noise from everybody there. And it was just one entity and it was not 20 people on the cap table or 30 people on the cap table trying to manage and trying to explain why somebody has this very little money when you’re also raising more money, which I think is also pretty important. Finding your investors or your debt holders in this particular case, it’s always going to affect your ability to raise more money in the future. When there’s so many people involved in the company, a lot of people tend to say, “Well, this can get messy really quickly,” right?

Gene: You mentioned also that you brought in venture capitalists. You’ve got venture capitalist funding in the past. As outside investors, you start bringing them to your company. What’s been their take on family members being involved in the business? Do you find them open to having fellow shareholders or debt holders that are family members, or do you find that outside investors as they come in are like, “We should probably push these guys out because they’re going to be more of a problem than a help.” What’s been the response from outside investors?

Leonardo : Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s not a term that I like, but anyway, I think there’s always this concept of that weight on the cap table when like, “Who is this person and why am I investing along him or her or they? The advice I’ve been getting is consolidation, which is, “Okay, I understand this is your friends, this is your family, so put them in one vehicle like an LLC and name somebody who’s going to be the participant in the meetings of the common shareholders meeting and somebody to represent that, because it’s going to be really hard when you do a shareholders meeting to have 50 people just trying to give impression and attention on that.” So I think it’s expected to have some friends and family money on any company. I think it’s just the balance of how do you execute and how do you manage this? How do you shield them from the complexity as well?

Gene: All right. Well, listen. I can tell you I get three big takeaways from this conversation, Leonardo, and I don’t know if Jon, you’re getting the same vibe. I mean, first of all, if you’re going to be either getting an investment or a loan from a family member or a friend, it’s super important to educate that person as to what their expectations are going to be and what they’re investing in and things like dilution, what they can expect going forward. S-1 is the SEC document that companies file when they go public. There’s a whole section on risk factor of the business, including like, “Hey, I might decide to take a vacation once in a while. That doesn’t mean that I’m spending your money inappropriately or whatever, but one of the factors is this is the way that I run the company.” And then the final thing also, is documentation, I got as well, is to making sure even if your family member or friend is like, “No, it’s fine. We’re buddies here. Don’t worry about it,” it’s super important to document yourself.

Leonardo, is there anything else I’m missing? If I’m going to start up a new business next week and I’m looking to get money. I need funding. No bank is going to look at me. I got to turn to some families and friends. Is there any other advice that you have that I can take away besides what I’ve already mentioned?

Leonardo : Yeah. I think more than anything is that, and I think you already mentioned, but I just want to reiterate it because I think it’s really important, is that level of transparency and that level of understanding and telling your people, who you really love and cherish you, that there is a risk on the investment and that you’re going to do your best to mitigate risk, but they need to come with their eyes really open and knowing that it’s money that probably they’re not going to see back again and they should feel comfortable with that.

Gene: Yeah, I like couching it that way, just say you’re going to invest this money and it’s like when I go to the casinos. I don’t really actually go to the casinos very often, really, but if you’re going to go, when you’re going to bring 500 bucks with you for a night of gambling, your attitude should be like, “I’m going to go home with nothing. If I do come home with something, that’s a bonus, that’s great, but I’m expecting to lose that money.” And I think you can raise that expectation among potential investors and potential debt holders of yourself that are family and friends. Jon, am I missing anything or do you want to wrap things up?

Jon: Well, I think the interesting thing, too, is when you talked about the paperwork with your dad. We’ve said this before. I don’t think you can underestimate a good lawyer who understands your business to advise on agreements and to really treat all transactions, even if they’re friendly in nature, about your business with that lens, right? Because at the end of the day, we never know what’s going to happen. It’s good for everyone to be crystal, crystal clear on terms, just so everyone can enter and understand exactly what they’re agreeing to, so I think that was really smart and sharp advice.

And I think the only other question I’d have is when it comes to paying people back out of your business or if the investment runs its course and you’re paying off your final thank you and now I’m moving onto my next round of funding or I don’t need that portion anymore, do you prioritize friends and family over other things or is it newer to older or is it different on different agreements that you’ve had in companies that you’ve had or what’s your philosophy on that?

Gene: Yeah, that’s a good question. So every time normally, when an institutional investor comes in, there is a possibility of exiting the business. And I try to do that with my families and friends, either by personal means or the investor that is looking for an additional placement on the company. That’s the first time I go and it’s like, “Guys, there’s this opportunity right now. There’s somebody coming on and they’re giving a premium of 10 cents out of a dollar, so if somebody wants to exit the company right now, I mean, this is good time to do it.” And some of them probably said, “Yes,” some of them probably said “No.” But yeah, I think it’s a really good idea when there are events of liquidity, to go back to your friends and family which are, again, the ones who gave you the first money and the one who trust in you, and say, “You can leave the company right now, if this is your choice.”

Jon: Awesome. Yeah, I think it’s an interesting… When I think about debts, I always want to pay back people I know first and I wonder when it comes to business loans, if it’s not of the same way, because it’s also something where it could be a bigger return for them, so you might, to your point, it’s good to get them the option. Awesome. Well Leonardo, I think this was a great conversation. I think it’s a topic people are going to be interested in, so thank you so much for sharing your insight and your experience with us. It’s a place we can go, right? So again, if you’re listening and watching, you know that we’re in the midst of our money week, so a series of content around different ways you can secure funding for your business or your operations or think about your cash flow a little bit differently.

So again, I want to thank Leonardo Shapiro for coming on and talking a little bit about the pros and cons of borrowing or thinking about asking for money from friends and family. Gene, as always, thank you for a great conversation. And if you’re interested in learning more about insights and advice for your small business, make sure you check out sba.thehartford.com or smallbizahead.com for our blog. Wherever you’re listening to this podcast, let us know what you think. Leave us a comment, rate, review. Let us know if you like content like this, if you’d like to see more information like this, if you have more questions about how to borrow money in your friends and family, and if we should have a follow-up conversation on there. But wherever you are, we hope you’re having a great day and thank you all for listening.

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11 Responses to "Financing Your Small Business: Should You Ask Your Friends and Family?"
    • BoydAD | March 10, 2022 at 8:04 pm

      Interesting take on a subject I’ve never quite considered. Well done.

      • Small Biz Ahead | March 14, 2022 at 8:30 am

        Thank you! We’re glad you found it interesting.

    • Chris Williams | March 8, 2022 at 1:56 pm

      The podcast overall has very good content and they are pretty good at communicating the message they are trying to send. Speaking clear, elminating “Fluff words” like Ummm or others during dead space will help this podcast. You need to be fluid, clear, and more engaging during the podcast. Overall the podcast is well done, I got some great pointers including the risks involved with investing.

      • Small Biz Ahead | March 9, 2022 at 2:07 pm

        Thank you for the feedback! We will keep this in mind.

    • James C Caratozzolo | March 7, 2022 at 8:20 pm

      Interesting in some aspects of business.

    • Ashley Willis | March 3, 2022 at 11:08 pm

      Enjoyed the podcast

      • Small Biz Ahead | March 4, 2022 at 8:21 am

        That’s great to hear, Ashley! Thanks for tuning in!

        • Nicole Herbele | March 10, 2022 at 7:47 pm

          I thought this was a great podcast. I think it’s difficult to go to friends or family for money because anything could go wrong. The host knew the subject matter. It was straight to the point. It didn’t go on and on about nothing.

          • Small Biz Ahead | March 14, 2022 at 8:31 am

            We’re glad you liked it, Nicole! Thanks for the comment.

    • Michael Mellen | February 2, 2022 at 1:39 pm

      Fittingly for this topic, take a look at the company Ned. Ned is a new company that provides a framework, process, and agreement for business loans between friends and family members. Ned aims to help with a number of the challenges mentioned in the article. Just thought it was an interesting connection.

      • Small Biz Ahead | February 3, 2022 at 11:09 am

        That is an interesting connection, Michael! Thank you for sharing it!

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