We’ve all heard the phrase claiming you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure. But here at the DofM, you’ll often find us golfing or having an after-work beer with our clients.
Of course, some definitions of that phrase are true! Still, we find doing business with friends can be beneficial to both sides. Of course, you don’t want to screw up either the friendship or partnership. So here are a few tips for this mix-and-match:
Find the Mutual Benefits
Look at the potential business venture from your friend’s perspective and discern how you might be able to solve his problems. These don’t necessarily have to be particularly serious problems. The key is to find a way that you can both benefit from an initial business interaction. An example could be something as simple as sharing connections or solving similar problems together. Regardless of the details of the situation, find some way to help each other and keep the conversation alive.
Be the First to Offer Help
It’s always better to give than to receive, especially when dealing with friends in a business environment. Start the relationship before you need something by offering assistance, connections, opportunities or recommendations. This can all be prompted by simply asking your friend how business is going.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask
Your friend can either help you directly by purchasing your product or indirectly through a recommendation or introduction. You should not be afraid to ask them for this business. All relationships are fundamentally built on trust, so by letting a friend know that you want his business, you open up a discussion that could greatly pay off in dividends. Obviously don’t be pushy, but reiterate you welcome their business if he so chooses.
Know the Right Situation
Don’t be THAT guy/gal. A dinner party or a sporting event is a great opportunity to initiate a conversation, but it’s generally not the right place to discuss business partnerships. Rather, at the said dinner party or sporting event, schedule a follow-up meeting in an environment better-suited for business. Lunch, coffee, an office meeting, or drinks at a bar could all be more effective and appropriate venues. Try to figure out where you’re most comfortable and what venue best compliments your existing friendship.