Do you have a friend who is too supportive? If you don’t think there is such a thing, you’re wrong. So wrong. I’m not talking about a friend who provides you with the support to make the right decision through a complex consideration process. I’m talking about the friend who says “yeah…that sounds awesome” to every single thing that you ever say. Those people not good for you and if you’re a business owner or looking to start a business, they’re really not good for you. Positivity and support is something that most business founders say they really needed when they got started. Everyone and their dog is going to take a dump on your dreams when you get started. “You’re crazy. Just get a job. There’s too much risk.” But in fact, these are the people you REALLY need to listen to because they’re the people who have the greatest chance of being right.

There is a very good chance that your business is going to crash and burn and that’s if your business even gets off the ground. Most businesses fail. Think about that. MOST. Not a lot. Not many. Not some. MOST. Most businesses fail. Now this is NOT me suggesting to you that you shouldn’t start your own business. There are ways to make sure that you’re not MOST people and that your business isn’t MOST businesses. But understand that there is a greater than 50% chance that your business will not succeed. Much greater than 50%. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that most businesses fail for very specific reasons. They didn’t plan well. They didn’t research well. They just didn’t put in the ground work that was needed. When you eliminate all of those businesses from the equation, your odds of success become much better. Having a support team around you during this process is key but a support team is very different than a cheerleading team. Let me give you a real example.

When the computer store that I used to manage closed, it left several people unemployed. One of those people joined an organization that is specifically designed to help people realize your dream of owning a small business. One day they were in a group setting and all of the participants were going around in a circle and talking a little bit about what sort of business they wanted to start. There were very specific ideas about stores and services and there were some more general ideas in regards to types of services and stores. And then there was the comedian. I’m not talking about “a guy who cracked a lot of jokes”. I’m talking about the comedian. When asked what sort of a business he wanted to start, one of the participants said he wanted to start a stand-up comedian business.

Let me be clear. I would LOVE to be a stand-up comedian. It is a very difficult, and in my mind very useful, profession that people spend their whole life working towards. It is a profession in the truest sense of the word. Comedians are craftsman and craftswomen. They’re artists and they bust their asses putting together successful routines. THAT is awesome. But it’s not a business.

This individual didn’t want to open a comedy club. He didn’t want to produce comedy shows. He didn’t want to start a comedy album label. He wanted to go to clubs and do stand-up comedy. That’s AWESOME. But again, that’s not what this guy wanted to do. He wanted to tell jokes. So what should have happened is that the people leading the group, responsible as a part of the organization, should have either said “ok, we need to flesh this out into a business idea” or they should have said “that’s not a business, that’s a job.” But they didn’t they said “that sounds amazing. What a great idea.”

And THAT’S the sort of person that should not be allowed to be around people who are starting a business. Yes people should be taken out back behind the shed. They’re absolutely detrimental to your success. I’m not talking about people who are supportive. I’m not talking about people who get behind you and help push you towards success. I’m talking about people who would tell someone who wanted to become a stand up comedian that that’s a viable business idea. Yeah. Sure. Head to the bank. Get your loan today.

When I’m looking at viability for a project, I lean on the people I trust. I lean on the people who I know will be behind me with everything they have and will also tell me that I’m an idiot and that this is the dumbest idea they’ve ever heard.