Ok, so we all have friends. Friends are good: they help us, support us, encourage us, wish us well. The list goes on. So, if we start up a new business, our friends would naturally be the best people to go to for assistance/help/support, right? Not always. Why? Read on….
Ok, while our friends wish well for us, they may not always be a good influence, or good for our business. Take that boy you used to sit with in Chemistry. Yes, you had a laugh making fun of the teacher, was he a help or a hindrance when it came to concentrating & preparing for the test on Monday? While it’s great to have friends to have fun with, you need to recognise when to play and when to perform. There always has to be a line somewhere.
How about your super competitive friend? You always revise together. When she’s stuck on something, you always help her/tell her how to do it, or even give her the answer. Yet, when you’re in need of assistance, she’s not so forthcoming, sometimes even mocking/putting you down…?
Or, maybe even your friend who set up his very successful business years ago? Before you had your own business/idea, he was always giving advice/anecdotes about good business tips/practises etc. But now you’re setting up your own business, he’s not so forthcoming with that advice he used to give so readily before…even though you’re not in the same field..
While it’s nice to have friends in business, it’s not always a wise decision/move. Let’s see how friends can have a damaging/negative effect on our business….
1 – The friend who always likes to play. While it’s nice, even healthy to have a laugh and a joke, there is a time and a place. Whether you’re starting out on your business venture, or are established in your business, you need to be focused on your work and ultimate goal. Wasting time & not giving your business sufficient attention will not only potentially kill your business, it could also have adverse effects on your friendship. I have one such friend – i’ve taken to ignoring her when she comes on facebook, cos i know she’s such a distraction & i’ll end up talking to her, instead of doing my work. But when i’m free, we have a laugh & a joke. Slowly but surely, I think she’s realising – especially as she’s in the early stages of setting up her own business!!
2 – The competitive friend – Is she jealous, or is she scared? Why does she behave in such a way? Always discouraging/advising against it? Maybe she’s jealous because she wishes she had her own business/come up with your idea? Or maybe, she feels insecure – she was always the bright star, but now you’re shining, what will become of her? The best way to deal with this friend, is to be frank and honest…maybe even seek her advice/opinion on matters relating to your business. Even talking to her, telling her how much you value & need her friendship during this phase in your business.
3 – The established businessman. Ok, this one is very similar to your friend who doesn’t want to share information with you. Only, this one is alot clearer – this one is jealous. Why? Up til now, he was the hotshot businessman, always telling you to get into business on your own. Now you’ve come along, you threaten his sense of security/importance, or even prestige – he is an established businessman after all. He is afraid that you will knock him off the ‘top spot’ – no matter what line of business you may be in, he feels threatened by you. The best way to deal with this ‘friend’, is to be honest with him. You need to evaluate your ‘friendship’ with this person, this may provide you with an insight into why he is feeling the way he is about you. Once you’ve cleared the air and explained how you both feel – what both your fears & anxieties etc are, you will be able to move forward in a healthy & productive manner – benefitting both your business and your friendship.
Friends are very important – socially, as well as professionally.
Image by: SXC