The 5 People You Meet When Starting A Business

Lakesia Wimberly


Award-winning author Mitch Albom once wrote a book called The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It is easy enough to surmise what the book is about: the general theme deals with the types of people you encounter when you pass on. However, the idea of meeting specific people during various points of your life can apply to several scenarios. This is especially true when you have started your own business.


Deciding to launch a business and sell a product or service to a targeted audience is both exciting and daunting. Starting your own company includes several moving parts, tasks to complete and people to include. As anyone who has done this before can tell you, as soon as you share this idea with the world, people you know (and don’t know) come out of nowhere to deliver their opinion on it.


In today’s post, we are going to talk about the five types of people you meet when starting a business. It’s important to note that they may not appear exactly the way we describe them, nor will they all come into your life at the same time. Equally important to understand is that none of the people we list here are necessarily bad for you and the success of your business. We are also going to list how to interact with these people and leverage what they have to say.


Person #1: The Doubter

Who Are They?

Regardless of what you are selling or who you are helping, someone is going to come out and tell you it will not work. They will list the reasons you will fail and why you should not bother in the first place. They base some of their doubts on the fact that they themselves would never have the courage to do what you are doing. The rest of their attitude comes from knowing very little about what you are trying to accomplish and therefore are delivering an uneducated opinion.


How to Handle Them

The key is to understand that this type of person should not sway you from pursuing your goals and dreams. However, when listening to their doubts and criticisms, note any valid points they make. It is possible they will bring up a potential issue that you can work to prevent from happening. Otherwise, thank them for their opinion and move on. As you grow your company, do not even bother to share any updates with this negative individual.


Person #2: The Salesperson

Who Are They?

New companies often need tools, programs, and software. These things keep track of orders, automate marketing, conduct sales, track payroll, and manage everything else that goes into running a business. Once you announce on LinkedIn you have launched your own brand, a rush of salespeople will arrive in your inbox to sell you the latest and greatest technology that will allegedly solve all of your problems.


How to Handle Them

It can be tempting to want to spend money on fancy programs that promise to make everything easier and run more efficiently. Also, be prepared for the aforementioned salesperson to tell you that you absolutely must have their program to solve a problem they can guarantee you will run into. It is up to you to decide what you need now and what can wait. If you can leverage a free tool instead of one you have to pay for, we suggest starting there for now. You can always reinvest your profits into paid solutions in the future.


Person #3: The Unsolicited Advice Guy

Who Are They?

Before you launch a business, you tend to conduct research and immerse yourself in the industry you are about to enter. You spend weeks, months, or even years learning about the product you are offering, how to market it, and the various ways to sell it to your audience. So, it’s natural to get annoyed when someone who barely knows anything about your company gives you advice you never even asked for.


How to Handle Them

You have the right to politely request that someone stop giving you unsolicited advice. However, if you do let this person speak, it’s important to not be moved by what they have to say. The last thing you want is to change your strategy or direction because someone who doesn’t have the facts is making a compelling argument. Just as with ‘The Doubter’, you can hear them out in case they have something valuable to add, but most of their ideas will be forgotten quickly.


Person #4: The Big Thinker

Who Are They?

This person will most likely be supportive, but they will also start suggesting ideas you are not ready for. To be fair, they are just excited for you, and your idea has gotten the wheels in their brain turning. They will talk about how you should try this, sell that, or reach out to these types of people. For example, if you start a health supplement company, this person may suggest you set up booths at every gym in the state. A great idea in theory, but not practical for a one-person team just starting out.


How to Handle Them

Always let this person speak their ideas. They are trying to be supportive and that should be appreciated. If they come up with a good one, even if it cannot be enacted now, write it down for the future. Perhaps you don’t have the manpower to be at every gym in the state, but it is still a campaign you can start planning and saving for once you turn a profit.


Person #5: The Experienced Veteran

Who Are They?

The last person on this list is the one you should listen to the most. They are the individual who has been where you are going. They may have owned a similar company before or have tried to sell a product to the same audience. Regardless, they will have advice that is worth listening to because it applies to the goals you are trying to accomplish. If you are lucky, you can avoid common mistakes and pitfalls by listening to this person.


How to Handle Them

Since they have experience and facts to back up their ideas, you can call on them for advice and mentorship. However, you do not always have to take their advice. If you feel strongly about something, then you should do it the way you want. The key is to listen to the past mistakes they have made and make sure you are not on a path to do the same. You can always ask for advice, but you do not always have to implement it.



Starting a business means meeting new people and getting new ideas and thoughts presented to you. Some will be useless and others will be mean-spirited. A few will be self-serving and the others will be unrealistic. However, some suggestions will be valuable and help you achieve success as you move forward. Be kind to everyone you meet, hear them out, and then decide whose voice is worth listening to further.


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