Business Relationships are A Lot like A Marriage

I am amazed how much business and personal relationships mirror each other.  The consequences of a failed business relationship can have similar outcomes to a failed marriage.

There are financial, and emotional implications. There can be loss of reputation and the picking of sides. Like personal relationships, it’s not easy to find new partners, and every time a relationship fails, you are more cynical and jaded about the next relationship you enter.

Do the two types of relationships have the same gravity? No, obviously a business relationship can be more transient.

But, that said, the similarities are eerie. The tells are often the same. I’ve learned that an outsider can’t displace the incumbent in a happy relationship.

It’s up to me, the vendor to make sure you, the customer are happy. It’s up to you, the client, to let me know when you are unhappy – and why.

Without constant an honest feedback from both parties, the relationship can get to the point where one party (the client in this case) has endured months of unhappiness and has decided to leave. When clients leave, they cannot be assuaged. The decision was arrived at over time and carefully thought out.

There’s significant time, money and energy invested in the client/agency relationship. It’s one worth working hard to maintain.

Like a marriage, you have to make time for each other, to understand each other deeply and to respect each other’s point of view.

Great business relationships are not one-sided. Each party needs to feel like they are receiving value from their partner.

I am a fan of the 80:20 rule, business relationships – like marriage are going to have lulls. But if the lulls only represent 20 percent (or less) of the book of work, then you’ve got a pretty great thing going. If it’s outside of this range, one of my other rules takes effect, “It’s better to miserable with options, than to be miserable without!”

Date night anyone?


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