A friend is the family you choose. Why should a business relationship work any different? In this 5 minute read you’ll learn why business relationships should operate the same as a friendship; trust, fun, enjoyable, etc. – and if you can’t see someone as a friend, why you shouldn’t do business with them.
Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between two or more people. For a friend, you'll naturally go above and beyond, but you won't think twice rejecting or disappointing a stranger – especially if your livelihood is at stake. Let’s examine how to harness the “friendship factor” in a business setting in order to form what I call, a biz-buddy.
First, common ground. What do you two have in common beyond the "trivial" pursuit of business? Are you both sports fans, foodies, spiritual yoga enthusiasts or perhaps avid deep-sea divers? Can you actually stand the sound of their voice, their attitude or their view on life? If you said no, then why would you go into business with someone you don’t respect? On the contrary, if you do see yourself “hanging out” with this person, odds are they might make a great long-term business partner.
Second, mutual benefit. Do you both have something to gain from this pending partnership? If so, how strong is that gain? Can it be replaced by a cheaper provider? If you said no, congratulations, you’re one step closer to gaining a biz-buddy.
In business, the most powerful partnership reflects nature's symbiotic relationship. Just like in nature, both parties must naturally recognize the need for the other, to thrive within their ecosystem.
Aside from business partners and clients, fostering friendships with co-workers is a well worthwhile investment. Having friends at work also forms a strong social support network, benefiting everyone personally and professionally. Whether rooting for each other, sharing advice or consoling each other about mistakes, comradeship at work can boost an employee’s spirit and long-term performance.
Being able to harness the “friendship factor” in a professional relationship not only improves your performance but it produces a more enjoyable ride.
A Harvard Review article a few years back stated: “Research shows that workers are happier in their jobs when they have friendships with co-workers. Employees report that when they have friends at work, their job is more fun, enjoyable, worthwhile, and satisfying.”
In fact if you research how to start a business with a friend, you’ll notice that many experts compare a business partnership to marriage. Are you willing to hang in there during the failures and curveballs or are you just blinded by sunshine and rainbows?
Here’s the bottom line. If you can’t get along with someone as a friend, how are you going to get along with them in business? Business ventures by definition involve unforeseen stress-makers, monetary risks and uncomfortable sacrifices. Without solid trust and respect with your business relationships, long-term success will always be a mirage.
Where there’s friendship, hopefully there’s trust, admiration, respect and dare I say a little bit of love. In times of need, those factors will play an essential role to overcoming adversity.
At the end of it all, it’s always more fun to hang out, grab a bite to eat or toast to a good day at the office with a friend. However, friends are also understanding, trustworthy and a reliable support system. So if we can create business relationships that emulate our closest friendships, it can lead to a fulfilling and prosperous road to long-term success.
So next time you think about getting into business with someone, ask yourself one question; can I see myself being friends with this person? Thanks for reading.