Young entrepreneurs starting their own businesses often think that their families and friends are the only customers they need to make their businesses work. I jokingly tell these potential entrepreneurs that their family and friends can’t possibly provide them with enough people to sell to unless everyone in their town is either related to them or is a friend.

True, friends and family may patronize the businesses of young entrepreneurs because they want to help out. But real businesses offer quality products or services that people truly need and that appeal to more than relatives and friends.

Part of learning how to be an entrepreneur involves hands-on experience about how the marketplace -- the population of people who may buy a particular product – can determine your success or failure. Parents and relatives buying your product just because they are related to you may help you make money in the short run. In the long-run, however, such handouts may just delay the amount of time it takes for you to find out that no one wants what you are selling if you have a bad product or service.