So many people are telling me that they are having complaints, problems, and are unsure as how to smooth out their professional relationships.
The rule is: NEVER mix personal and professional. If you do business with a friend and have any issue at all, keep it on a professional level. DO NOT share with your friends and family. This is totally unprofessional and the start of your problems.
ALWAYS be open, talk it out, and respect what the other person has to offer. Business relationships of any kind have a start point and a finish point. When you close such a relationship, be very clear as to why you chose to do so, and part amicably. Some of my clients have followed my advice and are very thankful for it, because they have saved personal relationships and their professional integrity this way.
It is a disaster when your friends draw their own conclusions, when in fact they are clueless about business or the specific relationship/contract that has ended.
One of the facts of small business owners is that they find someone they like on a personal level, and try to do business with them. They are so eager to solve all their problems at once that they usually don’t “hear” what the other party is offering. They just follow their wishful thinking, even though they are not clear about what they expect from a deal. The deal goes on and they discover midflight that the services offered are different than their expectations.
There are different approaches to solving that, and you be the judge of which is the correct way:
- You sit down and talk, explain in detail your expectations as a client, and if both parties find out that this relationship does not benefit either party, you simply and professionally say goodbye. Chapter closed.
- You are unsure of what your exact needs are, you are not satisfied with the services you receive, and you do not share your thoughts exactly, but decide to end this business relationship. You then proceed to talking to others, who in return have their own opinions and the professional who offers his/her services, starts being criticized to no fault of their own. Be very careful about toying with someone’s reputation and integrity.
- You sever both personal and professional relationship because you mix personal and professional issues.
In a few words, business is business, and friendship is friendship. Do not make it personal. Do not treat other professionals in a way that you would hate to be treated. These are shark infested waters and guess what? Someone might actually seek legal action against you for slandering, especially if you are dealing with a bigger company.