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Overcoming the fear of working with friends and family

Having a friend or family as a business partner is probably the best professional relationship we can engage in. The advantage is that we know the other, their capabilities and trust them and can rely on their commitment.

Most people are fearful of working together with family or friends. They shy away from such endeavours. Many a relationship has been destroyed by mixing relationships with business.

We can and often do, so easily screw up the business relationship, by uncontrolled adulteration of the professional by our personal behaviour, claim of our rights, shouldering responsibilities and delivering results.

The key word is 'mixing'. The nature of friendship and the nature of business are significantly different. Business is by its nature transactional whilst relationships are rarely so. It is the nature of business to demand, want and extract the maximum. Conversely in friendship and family relationships we seek to share and give more to the other.

For every activity and state of existence there is a natural order and this is known as 'Dharma'. Dharma which means universal order is the same over time, culture, region, age etc. The dharma of family and friendship are significantly different from the dharma of business.

Personal relationships are born from our emotions and hence is warm, fuzzy and reassuring. It bonds us to others.

On the other hand business is transactional and selfish (that is to be concerned with one's interests). Business is about 'give and take', free of emotions and an activity that is purely intellectual, hence it appears calculating and cold. In business to do otherwise is to destroy the business.

That is why, 'Business has to handled in a business like manner'. Failure to respect the dharma of business and commerce and treat it casually or disrespectfully will bring us only grief.

If we can find the courage and the intellect whilst containing our emotions, working together with friends and family can be highly rewarding and even fun.


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