HENRY H. SSALI: Friends made from Business are better than Friends supporting a Business


Recently, there was a post that made rounds on different social media platforms telling off people who don’t support friends’ businesses. That when such friends are fundraising for a wedding or Kwanjula, they should send whatsapp messages to the people they buy things from and add them to the groups. That that 3am distress call when they need someone to drop them at the hospital should not be to a friend whose business they don’t support! 

Probably this was a person who premised their business on friends and was disappointed when friends didn’t support the business!!! 

One thing that is clear is that in most cases when we ask friends to buy from us, we ask them to “support” us. By the time someone is supporting your business, they are literally supporting you. (Simanyi oba mukitegera). You are receiving support and not doing the best of business. 

Yes, it is okay for friends to support us in business, but we shouldn’t depend on them and shouldn’t even be disappointed when they don’t support us. Our friendship was premised on other things not the new business and it shouldn’t tear the friendship apart. 

It is better to offer the best service or product that our friends will buy from us because they love the product, not because of their duty to provide support!!! Support is only temporary and cannot be sustained. 

You should understand if your friends don’t support your business. Many friends have bought things they will never use just because they are supporting friends. Sometimes you buy a pair of shoes from a friend because you are “supporting” them, but you are sure you will never wear the shoes because they are not your style. Naturally you will start avoiding that friend because everytime you chat, they tell you they have new stock yet you are not interested in the stuff they are selling. Sometimes it is we businesspeople that kill the friendships because we feel entitled to “support” from our friends. 

Business should be business and friendship should be friendship. If you have a pork joint and your Muslim friend doesn’t “support” you, I’m sure you would understand. Let’s understand when friends and family don’t “support” our businesses. We should instead offer services and products they can’t resist. 


I run a washing bay in Sonde and it would be unfair of me to get annoyed with a friend who lives in Kajjansi for not supporting me. I wouldn’t expect him to burn his fuel to come and wash his car at Asylum! Once in a while when he is in my area code, well and good. 

Yes, friends can support our business, especially when it’s starting, but we cannot rely on them to keep the business going and we shouldn’t be annoyed or disappointed when they are no longer supporting us. When I open a bar or restaurant, my friends will come from far and wide on opening night, I don’t expect them the next day, save for those who liked the place, the food and find it convenient to return. 

In fact I have learnt that friends made from business support the business more than old friends. I have made lots of friends from business because they like the product or service I’m offering and our energies match. 

Some friends you meet while doing business with them become more than brothers and sisters. There is a friend called Martinez. We became friends because he was a regular at one of our joints and shared similar interests. This guy took up unpaid and unsolicited managerial duties at the establishment in the absence of the owners!!! He wished the business well and would supervise works and even respond to customer queries! He was a businessman himself and shared lots of ideas on how to make businesses work and even gave ideas on alternative investment!!! 

One of the lessons people who expect friends to support their businesses should pick from Martinez is the issue of target market. Sometimes your friends are not your target market and it is wrong for you to get annoyed because they don’t support you. 

Martinez used to import jeans from China. Most of these were bought by traders from Arua, Congo and South Sudan! He also had those super skinny jeans that teenagers love. He invited me to his shop downtown not to buy jeans but to learn from his business. He clearly understood that I wasn’t the target market for his jeans and he told me so. For him, these jeans were an “item” and he knew who he was meant to sell them to. He wanted people buying the jeans by the dozen not me!!! 

I joined real estate business under the wings of Chris, another customer who became a good friend!!!! 

In my opinion and experience, it’s okay for friends to support our businesses, but we shouldn’t call them fake friends when they are not in position to support us. We should clearly know our target market, which sometimes might not include our friends. We should instead focus on the product. Providing the best goods and services and the best prices will automatically have our friends buying from us (doing business) not just supporting us and we shall make many more friends while at it.  

BTW: The post doesn’t mean I don’t buy from friends. I bought the plants in the photo from a friend. I didn’t just support. I did business because I love them.



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