Have you ever gotten to know someone who later turned out to be a friend, client and vendor?
It’s happened to me several times and I truly feel blessed by these relationships.
While there’s no hard and fast rules, for me the friendship usually comes first, then as we learn more about each other, one often realizes she needs the services of the other and a client relationship is born. And after learning even more about each other, often times the client relationship is reciprocated.
And it’s in the best interests of both of our businesses (this is key). . .
Of my current private clients, I can immediately think of 3 where these lines are all crossed.
And it works for one simple reason — respect:
• we respect each other and the brilliance we each bring,
• we respect the lines and
• through that respect, we know which “role” we’re in during any given conversation.
Now while this sounds great and all, what happens when your friend doesn’t provide the experience you were expecting (or stops providing it)?
1. Make a list of your expectations and what you feel is amiss.
2. Remember, first and foremost, you’re friends. Pick up the phone and ask her what’s up.
3. If you’re also her vendor, stay in integrity and continue to provide the great client experience you’re known for.
4. Depending on what happened in #2, make the decision about continuing with her or finding another vendor (after all, you’re running a business).
In managing these relationships, you want to keep things as “clean” as possible by honoring your friendship while ensuring an amazing client experience.
MY REQUEST TO YOU
In working with friends and/or family, I often see business owners hiding their head in the sand and ignoring the warning signs that something’s amiss as they quietly hope she’ll “get back on track” and live up to her side of the bargain.
You can’t do it.
This is YOUR BUSINESS, not a hobby and you must treat it as such.
It’s totally okay to make concessions, give slack, etc. as long as you’ve made a conscious decision to do it. It’s not okay for that decision to be assumed by your friend/vendor.
In all things, be true to yourself and your business and know that, when the lines are clear and respect is there, the chances are slim you’ll ever have an issue.© Copyright 2010 Sandra P. Martini