LeAnne Samson owns a series of businesses that include the Diner En Blanc, a wedding and events planning, a micro-finance, and management consultancy businesses.

Making a mistake in my business, no matter how little, is quite traumatizing for me because I am a perfectionist.

Notwithstanding, I have made so many mistakes and equally taken major lessons from them that have enabled me to be where I am today. The biggest of these was poor management of relationships which became manifest in different ways.

The first was through hiring and partnering with friends. I lost many friends that I had hired or partnered with because we were pulling the business towards different directions. On one hand, my friends would often run the business like a friendship, while I would be more interested on the business being operated as a professional outfit.

I also burned too many business bridges. I used to have no patience or tolerance for mistakes and ended up burning bridges because of my temper. I would overreact to situations and make them about me, which would cause me to completely end a project or fire someone over a small mistake.

I remember that when I started, I struggled with feelings of inadequacy. I involved too many people in my projects, searched for validation from my peers, and tried to build big teams even before my business left the ground.

In the end, all these cooks spoiled the broth. There were just too many people all fighting for their own interests and none fighting for the business.

Losing many friends and the subsequent separation from business partners made me go through high levels of stress and periods of immense self-doubt.

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Consequently, I became too unproductive. I would be legally fighting this one or firing the other. My businesses went bad and drained my finances. They would fail before I got any return on investment. In the end, I did a self-audit.

I honestly and brutally tracked down the reasons why I was stuck in this lose-making cycle. I made drastic changes in my life and resolved never to work with or hire my friends. I also learned how to work in silence and stopped seeking after validation.

This required me to build up my confidence, become more tolerant and forgiving, and learn how to mend broken fences.

My Lesson

Relationships in business are everything. You must get them right from the word go. Always remember that your network is your net worth. You cannot grow a business without people.

Relationship management must at all times be the fundamental part of your growth. As well, you must know how to rise above negativity, become the bigger person in your conflicts and always try to find common ground with your worst of enemies.

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