When you are in business, especially when you are just getting started, one of the ways to get things done is to have some professionals that you will always hang around. This is very important for the growth and survival of your business. While you may always hire professionals to get things done for you, there may be more gains if you have some of these professionals as friends that you can easily talk to.Any smart business professional understands that you can’t really pay for everything you want. Even when you have all the money in the world to pay for what you want, you barely get much more than what you have paid for. If you have professionals as friends that you talk to from time to time, you would have picked up one or two things from them. Please note that this is not to say you should ask for services from people without paying for them. No matter how close people are to you, it is very important to agree on professional fees and pay them. If you refuse to pay them and you have enjoyed their services, you will not be able to get them when you need them the most and that may become a big problem for your business. You shouldn’t only keep professionals as friends or close associate, you need to try to develop a long term business relationship with them. It’s also one of the smart ways to grow your business. When you keep a long professional business relationship, there is the tendency that as those other professionals grow in their fields, you will grow with them. You may gain access into their large networks if you are trusted and that also means growth for your business. These other professionals may recommend you easily to other colleagues and you need that all the time. Who are these professionals that you need to keep as friends or close business associates and why should you keep them close? Some of them are: 1. Lawyers – If you have a strong relationship with a lawyer, you can be sure you will always get from free legal counsel. Before you get into any agreement, run it by them. You will be saving yourself a lot of legal fees by consulting a lawyer before signing an agreement. When they also have to render legal services for you, they may go the extra mile because this is not just a client they are dealing with. 2. Accountants/Tax consultants – This works very well if you don’t have a lot of money to spare for the accountants yet. They are crucial to your business and your records must be intact. If you don’t have your records you will not be able to get a lot of things done. So keep some accountants close. If you can’t pay them yet, make sure you also render some services to them in order to help their businesses. 3. PR professionals – They will certainly be helpful in planning the promotional materials for your business. You can get some free advice on proper image projection or some free services regarding the image of your business. 4. Journalists – Those who are in business and also have friends in the media now understand some of the benefits of having them as friends. When they need to interview people, you will most likely come to their minds. Even when the subject of discussion is not related to business or does not talk about your business, you still get to be introduced as ‘CEO of XYZ’ company. That’s free publicity for you. It still counts even if the name of your company is not mentioned. People get to see you and know you. You never can tell where that will work for you. 5. Law enforcement officers – You should have a cordial relationship with the law enforcement officials in the neighbourhood where your business operates. It will be nice they know you and once in a while, come around your business premises. In some other countries where there is twenty four hour electricity and CCTVs can work round the clock, this may seem unnecessary. If you also live in a country where you can call emergency numbers and help will come in a few minutes, you may not think much of this as well but it doesn’t hurt to have a strong relationship with law enforcement officials. For all these professionals that you will be keeping close so that your business can grow, ensure you recommend them in as many places and as many times as you can. Since you can’t pay them their real value, a recommendation will encourage them. Even when your business grows and you can now pay them, you still have to keep them close.