So you and your BFF have decided to create and launch a product together – yayyy! HOWEVER, before you take the next step hand in hand, make sure you read these crucial rules – they’ll end up saving your business AND your friendship…
(Btw, we take our own advice at The Nutshell Project, especially #5 – watch our video!)
1) Be clear in your communication. “We’ll figure that out,” should not be a statement when mixing friendship with business. Clearly communicate your expectations up front and get it in writing so you’ll know what’s expected and who is beholden to each responsibility. If this is difficult to do, have a third party manage the discussion or agreement. Don’t avoid it just because it may be a touchy subject. Get it out of the way first so you can move forward without resentment.
2) Be honest throughout the process. You must be honest with the good, the bad and the ugly while the business or project unfolds. It is of utmost importance to hear all of it! If things start to go sour, be swift and open with your concerns immediately so it can be rectified.
3) Don’t beat around the bush with money. When you developed your pricing, you did it based on the service you provide, what the market will bear and most importantly, what’s going to feed you. So why is it that when a friend calls for a product or service you feel obligated to throw that hard work out the window?
We have a client who is doing business with a friend – she keeps questioning her and not paying. When we asked our friend why she ended up discounting her services so much, she said it was because she was “a friend.” Some friend, huh? If you’re going to make an adjustment do it because it is good business practice, NOT because your “friend” is bullying you. (This is a good post to read as well: How NOT to Get Screwed by Clients)
4) Refer to #1 and #2 when they’ve dropped the ball. Even if you aren’t doing business directly, you will refer your friends. So what happens when that “know, like and trust” turns to “crap, seriously? and again?!” It’s happened to all of us – you’ve referred your friend several times and the first time they screwed up you thought it was the other person. The second time they screwed up you start questioning them. The third time (if you even give them a third time) you freak out because he or she is making YOU look bad!
Resolution? Refer back to point #2 with open, honest communication. Another good tip: don’t use the word “you” in the conversation. Use “I feel” or “this was said,” “it was done.” Then you have to be honest and say, “Unfortunately, I don’t feel comfortable at this point referring people to you. I still love you as a person and friend, but the business route needs to go on the back burner for now.” That’s why #1 and #2 are so key – setting expectations and understanding that business is business and friendship is friendship…and sometimes they just won’t mix.
5) Don’t always keep it to business. Remember that your friendship didn’t go away just because you decided to do business together. Wendy and I are friends and also started The Nutshell Project together. However, we make a conscious effort to spend non-business talking time together so we can remember why we got into this in the first place. The great news is, when you both have a love for business and a passion for each other to truly succeed, mixing friendship and business will work (and sometimes…bribery.)
If you and your friend have launched a product and want to learn how to be on QVC, Good Morning America, The Today show as well as in People, O The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Redbook and more, give us a shout! Contact Jenn@TheNutshellProject.com
The Nutshell Project provides a full service “soup to nuts” approach to develop, tweak or refine your product business bringing it to the essential tipping point from investing in your business to making money. Our first-hand launch of global product successes and years of insight provides our clients with a crucial road map as well.
Leverage our experiences in: mastering QVC, appearing on Good Morning America and The Today Show, landing in national magazines, selling in big box stores, infiltrating boutiques and drug stores and having a robust E-commerce online platform! Visit www.TheNutshellProject.com