ebook piracy

Doing Business with Friends

Send this page address - CLICK HERE - to a friend !

Setting boundaries is what it is all about. I have done business with friends, and some of my business relationships have become very friendly. However, and here is the lesson I learnt very early: if you do a favour, or "mates rates" tell them EXACTLY what it is they are getting and for how much and when their goodwill runs out. This is important for two reasons:

1) You will not begrudge the time you then spend on what I call "just" jobs. Oh can you just do this, can you just do that...

2) The friend will respect your time and therefore not waste it if they think it is going to cost them.

Do not worry about losing a friend; a true friend will understand that the very essence of business is "time=money". If you have a friend who does not understand this, well, maybe it's best that they didn't ask you for favours and were not your friend? You can go bust being really busy doing mates favours. Therefore I now refuse to do freebies for mates; they know that I will say no and so they don't ask. However they do sometimes ask for advice and, because they know people pay me for that advice, they listen. Stuff that is "free" is rarely attractive; however slap a price of £50 an hour on it and suddenly, presto magico, it's gold! You can sometimes convert that advice into work. I usually give mates a discount on an upfront cost but keep my hourly rate or subsequent job costs in line with my customers'. Mates feel good that you have deigned to give them discount but don't phone you every five minutes with dumbass questions.

As I said first, it's about setting boundaries. The key to it is setting them early enough on that the precedent is made. Usually this is happening around the time you are starting to find your feet in business and sometimes laying down these boundaries is difficult as your friends do not perceive you to be a businessman/woman yet, but just their mate who is having a go at business. Well -and this might sound cold - those mates do not want you to succeed. Seriously, if you do succeed then maybe you expose their shortcomings? Sometimes as friends we all support each other's lies and, thus, change doesn't take place. It's like recovering drug addicts; those who tend to succeed in coming off their drug of choice are the ones who manage to get away from the "scene" they are involved in. Your "friends" will help you get and keep high as it maintains their own status quo. As Bill Hicks said: "Your friends will christen your dumpster for you". But get clean and everytime you face those people all they see is their own failure to kick the drug habit. That is an imbalance that cannot support a friendship.

The friends I have now are totally different from those I had 20 years ago. Not a conscious effort; just times change, people move on; what I do now is totally alien to some of the friends I used to have. I had a reunion with some of my old friends a week or so ago. Some of the people I had not seen for 20 years. I got dressed up in drag (Emily) and also did Ali G, Lou etc.. A couple of people just could not handle it! However they were all amazed and were asking, "when did you know you could do this?" Well the answer was I always knew I wanted to perform in some capacity. I just never did for fear of failure and their disapproval. So I joined a Drama Club and slowly my friends changed. Like I said, it happens.

I was once speaking to a very wealthy client who told me that a persons income is directly related to those he chooses to socialise with. I started to challange that but his reply sealed it: "how many millionaires live on council estates?". And that is the truth. Again how many times do you hear of multiple million pound lottery winners saying: "It's not going to change me" or splurge the lot? It's because they want the money but not the change in their lifestyle, or life-environment or the change is so big that they lose sense of who they are, their identity being wrapped up with their place in their social heirachy. But successful people move on from their social beginnings. Alan Sugar did, as did many others. They either moved country, moved location or just plain old moved on!

So, to come full circle, set those boundaries. Yes you may lose a few people, but then they were either out for a free ride or wanted you to fail (maybe not intentionally but even their unintentional outcome means you fail!). That's why contracts were invented, and terms and conditions. These are the Terms and Conditions under which you accept business. Be business like in all your dealings and watch your business grow.

Stuart Morrison

Complete Little Britain Tribute Act for a great evening's entertainment http://www.littlerbritain.com/