It has long been considered taboo to “mix business and pleasure.” But I have found that it can actually make the journey more enriching and meaningful as long as you know how to navigate the waters. My journey down this path began with the mom of my daughter’s best friend in elementary school. She and I were having a conversation one day, and I asked her what she did when her daughter was at school. We didn’t know one another well at the time, but I was struggling to keep my head above water as my company grew and I took on more clients. She expressed interest in finding out more, and she has worked with Remote COO for over 10 years now! Through a shared vision, goals, interests, and learning more about one another over the years, we have become best friends. She is COO of the business, and she is nothing short of my right-hand woman!
A few years later, I had a similar conversation with a neighbor I also met thanks to my daughter (and yes, she often reminds me I owe her BIG for introducing me to such great employees and ultimately friends). Our children often played football or frisbee together in the yard, and through a visit over coffee one morning, I found out she was looking for a way to make a little extra income for her family and have something she could call her own. Over the eight years she has now been with Remote COO, we have also become best friends as we learned more about one another, bonded over family similarities, and uncovered shared interests and values.
I have also found great friendships through clients and vendors I’ve had over the years. As you open your life and share your business with someone, whether they are helping you or you them, there is a level of trust and vulnerability involved. Business conversations will often broaden, and conversations sometimes turn to interests, family, life experiences, or other relatable topics. This deepens the bond and broadens the scope of the relationships in a natural and organic way. One client, who is now also one of our dedicated vendors, has also become a treasured friend. And my very first client from back in 2006 is still a great friend! Our families even became close and have planned numerous family outings over the years to stay connected.
Yes, it can sometimes be challenging, as it requires an intentional approach to maintain harmonious relationships while striving for success. But if you follow a few valuable tips, you too can enjoy business success while fostering thriving relationships built on trust, communication, and shared goals.
1. Be intentional with time.
Even the closest friendships require boundaries, and this principle extends to business relationships as well. Differentiate your personal lives from your professional lives, especially when it comes to time. When I have a business meeting, we do a quick personal check in and intentionally move to the business agenda to keep conversations professional and focused on work. And when I have my friendship time, I am intentional about enjoying more personal conversations and agenda-free activities. Establishing boundaries ensures that a healthy personal and professional relationship can flourish, avoids potential conflicts, and allows for an enjoyable whole-life experience.
2. Define roles and responsibilities.
One of the essential aspects of a successful business partnership with friends is clearly defining roles and responsibilities from the beginning. Assigning specific tasks and areas of expertise to each team member, contractor, or client minimizes confusion, provides transparency, and avoids potential conflicts. By establishing clear boundaries and expectations, everyone can focus on their strengths and work together effectively.
3. Communication is key.
Open and honest communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship, and this principle holds true in business partnerships as well. Encourage open dialogue, active listening, and constructive feedback. Regularly scheduled meetings and progress updates provide an opportunity for each person to voice concerns, discuss ideas, and address any issues promptly. Authentic connection builds trust and allows the relationship to flourish and grow beyond the initial reason you first met. Having separate and relaxed time for chats to catch up increases that connection and establishes integrity in the relationship.
4. Establish a shared vision and goals.
To be successful in business, it’s crucial to align your vision and goals with your business-partners-turned-friends. Take the time to discuss and define your collective objectives, values, and long-term aspirations. A shared vision will serve as a compass, helping you make decisions and overcome obstacles together. It also creates a sense of unity and purpose within the relationship both personally and professionally. Additionally, there is often a natural progression that occurs when you connect on a deeper level. An alignment takes place when you know where someone else stands on work ethics, professional standards, and integrity. When you discover someone shares similar beliefs, a desire to continue connecting on a social level can occur.
5. Celebrate milestones and successes.
Building a business with friends is an exciting journey filled with ups and downs. Remember to celebrate milestones, achievements, and successes together. Acknowledging and appreciating each other’s efforts helps strengthen your bond as friends and business partners, boosting morale and motivation.
Being in business with friends can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience if approached with intentional care and effective communication. By setting clear boundaries, defining roles, and fostering communication, you can forge a thriving business with friends built on trust and mutual respect. Remember, open communication, establishing a shared vision and goals, and celebrating successes are vital components for a successful business with friends. With the right mindset and strategies in place, you can navigate the entrepreneurial path together and create something truly remarkable.
At Remote COO, we care about our clients and want to be a partner and confidante. We actively walk with our clients on their entrepreneurial journeys because I know from personal experience how hard an entrepreneur has to work and how overwhelming it can feel at times. We truly want to help you achieve your goals while allowing you to simultaneously enjoy the journey. And who knows? We might just turn into besties. Reach out today to begin the relationship: https://remotecoo.com/contact-us/.