Business & Friends
Have you been there? A friend feels they’d be great in business with you and wants to start drafting a plan, or your close friend comes to you with her dream and wants you to invest time, energy, money etc. You want to be happy for her without really getting involved. Are you really friends if you wouldn’t do business with them? Do you have to be friends to make a successful business partnership? What do you owe your friend if you don’t want to partner or simply don’t feel it would be a good fit without ruining your friendship?
Here are three simple yet powerful questions to help you to figure out where your friend lies in your business life, and what to do about it.
Filter 1: Do I like this person?
Well obviously, if they’re your friend, this is an easy answer. The only thing you owe someone you like is your inclination to listen to them. If I like you, I will listen to you. That’s it! These relationships are valuable and needed for our social life!
What NEXT: You don’t have to be their surrogate mother, adopt a dog together, or go into business with them. They are simply your friend and the relationship need not go any further than that! These friends just stay at this level and you move on! If they pass this test, move onto Filter 2.
Filter 2: Do I trust this person?
This is a VERY different question than whether you like them. Trust stirs at the deeper levels of our psyche and foundations. Usually the first answer that comes to you instinctively is the one you should follow. Have they shown questionable ethics in the past in their business, or personal lives? Are they a gossip? Would you trust them to hold your cash on a night out? Would you let them babysit for you?
What Next: If the answer to this anything less than a solid YES, move this friend BACK to Zone 1. Enjoy these folks as your friends, listen, exchange ideas with them, but these are not your business partner people.
If the answer is an astounding YES, you can move forward to the consideration phase. Do NOT commit to anything but allow yourself to strongly consider being in business with this person.
Filter 3: Do I respect this person?
is, yet again, much deeper than even TRUST! When you respect someone, therein lies a DEEP appreciation of the accomplishments, achievements, and knowledge they have proven to you over time. You can trust your girlfriend to hold your cash for a night of clubbing, but really ask yourself, what you admire about this person, and if those qualities are transferable to business.
What Next: If you have arrived here and really think Laura, your clubbing buddy might not fit into your idea of admiration, move her BACK to filter 2, and understand that you’ll always consider her ideas, AND unapologetically understand you’ll probably never do business with them.
If you DO like, trust, and respect this person, you can somewhat confidently move forward in business together.
The main point here is to understand that you can be friends with someone without needing to trust or respect them. You can have business cohorts, as well as friends you’d never go into business with. Both are great! We cannot just have one or the other in life, right?
The key is to QUICKLY compartmentalize the non-business partner people through all three filters to avoid wasting time considering EVERY friend’s idea EVERY time.