I have always been told that I needed to be careful about going into business with friends. However, I have ended up making some great friends through business over the years. Since we all spend a large portion of our time in some form of business, why wouldn't we become friends with the people that we spend so much time with? At Swift Straw, I encourage everyone on our team to get out of the office with our team members and our customers on a regular basis to have some fun. This could be as simple as grabbing lunch, or it could take the form of some activity like attending a Braves game, playing a round of golf, or even taking a fishing trip.
The friendships I have made through business have taught me several lessons:
1) Getting out of the office to have some fun is not about providing perks. It's about creating a relationship with someone by sharing an experience together.
2) It is much easier to do business with someone for a long time when you know they are a good person and you can trust one other.
3) We all spend a ton of time working. So, we should be intentional about building fun experiences out of the office into our business culture. Whenever possible, have your team members include their children in your activities, so that those kids can see the good and the benefit behind your work.
I recently had a blast on a fishing trip with some really good friends that I met through business. When I count my blessings, being able to share fun experiences with friends is on the top of the list. I am looking forward to the next trip!