I don’t care how many Facebook friends you have, I would hazard a guess that there are only about 10, at most, that you really count on and that might include some family. Recently, I was reading Storyline about knowing your true friends. It got me thinking about other social networks, such as LinkedIn. How can you know your true business friends are? In the cutthroat world of business, can you even have colleagues that you can depend on? How can you tell?
Who are your business friends?
True friends are those who show up when the going is tough. That might mean someone who comes through when you’re moving across the country or that person who comes over to sleep on your couch after you’ve watched a horror movie. The people who are just one phone call away, even when you’ve ignored them for the past few weeks or even longer.
When you get to be successful in business, it can be difficult to really know who is loyal to you and who is just loyal to your achievements.
But it’s important for entrepreneurs and business owners to have people who will be there for the ups and downs of your life. You need two or three people who are going to tell you the truth, who you respect, and who can push you forward in your career. The real question is finding those individuals.
What’s the secret?
I think one of the best places to meet people who will be loyal business friends is outside of your actual business. I belong to the local Lion’s Club, and I’ve never met a group of people who are so dedicated to the community and to each other. The camaraderie is genuine, even between competitors.
Professional organizations are a great way to find others who will become a true business friend.
In business, much like your personal life, you have to work on building relationships with mentors and colleagues. Measure those relationships by who is there for you when you need a good kick in the pants, a pat on the back, or a harassment-free business hug. Go ahead and make connections on LinkedIn and Facebook, but don’t forget to nurture relationships in your community with business people. Look for people who have a good character and reputation, who want you to be successful.