Business is Personal; Be Choosy in Business


At some point I'll write a post about how I hire staff…because I think how you hire (the process, where you look, how you evaluate, etc) is critical to the success of any organization. But that's a post for another time.

Today I want to share with you a different insight that I hope adds some value to your business efforts. You know when I do this I don't caveat things a lot – so if you disagree, or have situations where my advice doesn't apply, just ignore me and I promise not to get offended.

Business is Personal

I know there's a saying that goes, “it's just business, it's not personal” – but honestly, every time I hear that phrase I want to punch someone in the face. If you don't think the business you do includes you, as a human, and your personal feelings, interests, and opinions, then close this window and come back tomorrow in case tomorrow's post is better for you.

We spend more hours than ever working. So if you're going to work a lot, doesn't it make sense to think about business in the same way you think about your personal lives? I don't know about you but I'm careful as I make friends.

I want them to be stand-up folks with integrity and who, as trust develops, will be there for me when I'm going through difficult times (like running out of pizza rolls).

Be Choosy in Business

If we're that careful in our personal lives, shouldn't we be as careful in business? I think so. That's my take. We should be as choosy in business as we are in our personal lives.

Now maybe this is second-nature to you. If that's the case, awesome – enjoy the fruits of the partnerships you develop and all the wonderful things that come of it. But I bet, if we were to talk a bit, we might discover that you have some partnerships that were motivated by other things, right?

Almost every small business I connect with, coach, or consult has partnerships that are either partially or completely toxic. It's not all their relationships – often not even the majority of them. But there's always one or two. And if you dig in deeper, you find out that the relationships were all established for the same reasons.

People get into bad business relationships because:

1) They think it will increase their reach.
2) They think it will increase their revenue.
3) They think it will increase their retention.

Does this remind you of any relationships you have that you may want to consider?

Life is too Short to Work w/ Jerks

I'll go on record. I've taken consulting jobs because the money looked amazing even though I thought the CEO might not be a great guy. Know what? I didn't make the money I thought I would. I've signed up for partnerships because I thought they'd get my name out. Know what? It didn't go nearly like I thought it would.

So I've learned: life is too short to work with jerks.

So join me. Write it down on a sticky note and put it on your monitor: NO JERKS. THE MONEY'S NOT WORTH IT.

I promise you that within a few months, you'll find better folks to work with. And before you wonder how I know this. Consider this. Maybe the jerks you're dealing with are turning you into a defensive, whiny, complaining and depressing person. If so, some great folks may be skipping past you because they might be thinking you're the jerk.

Enjoy the Rewards

If you get rid of the jerks in your life, if you're choosy in business, you might come to enjoy some really rewarding friendships with business partners. That's what has happened for me as I've implemented the “no jerks” rule (regardless of the money I think they might represent).

In the photo above are Karim from VeloMedia and Steve from Zeek Interactive. I spent the weekend with these guys at WordCamp Miami. Steve & I have spoken at each other's meetups and I recently joined the board of directors for VeloMedia to work with Karim. These guys are both great (or strange, depending on your perspective).

But the lines between when we're doing business and when we're just hanging out having a good time don't have to be defined because I've already been choosy and now I get to enjoy the benefits of doing business with folks in a way that's personal.

So go and do likewise. Fire the jerks in your life and find some quality folks to partner with. I promise you your professional life will be richer because of it.