Don’t Burn Any Bridges – The importance of relationships

Entrepreneurs can thrive through the relationships that are developed prior to, or during the development of a business. The relationships that are formed can play a one-time role in benefitting you as an entrepreneur, or that relationship can benefit you multiple times throughout the course of your businesses. This is why, no matter the circumstances, that you should never burn any bridges if possible. It doesn’t matter how negative of an experience you had with someone, at some point down the road you may wish you still had that certain contact.

Relating back to my Week 3 post of “Accumulating Capital”, it is important to build up all types of capital, especially social capital. Stated in the book “The Founder’s Dilemmas” by Noam Wasserman, “the accumulation of one type of capital can be a virtuous cycle”. Research has proven that people who collect more social and financial capital are able to start their business venture that much quicker. With that being said, don’t get rid of any of social capital, continue to build it, even if you have negative experiences with someone. People do change, sometimes for the better or worse, but you never know which direction they may go in and how beneficial it could be to know them.

At some point you will encounter someone who will disappoint you in some way, it is inevitable. As easy as it may be to just blow this person off and never talk to them again, this person that caused disappointment can still benefit you in some way in the future. You always need to cautious with everyone, but with someone that has disappointed in the past, just be extra leery of them in the future. In the book “It’s A Jungle In There” by Steven Schussler, Steven gives a very personal example of his father walking out on his family when he was a child. Steven started to rekindle his relationship with his father once he got older was in the process of developing his restaurants. His father actually made it possible for Steven to meet the future investor of the Rain Forest Café restaurant chain. If Steven had never rekindled that relationship with his father, the famous restaurant chain may have taken that much longer to secure funding or may have never have came to fruition at all.

Steven says to not burn any bridges, just make sure that the next time you go to cross that bridge, do so carefully. Steven also emphasizes to not like your ego get in the way of a business transaction or any form of a relationship. It is important for entrepreneurs to have a healthy ago, and make sure that before you walk into that big meeting, to check your ego at the door. The saying “its not what you know, who you know” is a lot of the time very true in the business world. Keeping this in mind, don’t destroy any relationships that can make a difference in your business.


Schussler, Steven. It’s A Jungle In There. New York. Sterling Publishing Co. 2010.  Print.

Wasserman, Noam. The Founder’s Dilemmas. Princeton. Princeton University Press.   2012. Print

6 thoughts on “Don’t Burn Any Bridges – The importance of relationships

  1. Chris,

    Social capital is so important in business. Once valuable relationships are made in networking you should strive to keep those contacts. One never knows when you might need a “favor” and one of your contacts may contain that skill set. If bridges are burned and the relationships are lost then one will have much more work to do alone.

    Great post.

  2. Yes, I completely agree that you should not burn any bridges. However, I do think that is very difficult to bite your tongue in certain situations or to not be a whistle blower in extremely negative circumstances. I think that it is wise to strongly consider the consequences of “burning a bridge.” Additionally, it may be difficult to determine where that line has been crossed. Thanks again for your message.



  3. Everything we do in life is based on relationships. Those who have the gift of developing them through personal interaction, networking and general social interaction have the best ability to be successful in the business community. Unfortunately, some people feel it necessary to act emotionally when departing a personal or professional relationship and wreak havoc in the process. this is by far the best way to shut the door on potential future relationships.

  4. Hi Chris,
    Burning bridges in business definitely does not mix. Social capital is very important and almost hard to put a value on. I love the quote about leaving the ego at the door. And what you know is important, but who you know can invaluable.

  5. Excellent job of relating this post back to Week Three. It is important to have social capital. The key to know is that, you can not put a value on the social capital. As you presented in the post, Steven would have not met a potential investor had it not been for his father. It is important for us as people to be forgiving and caring. This can take you a long way in life. Burning bridges is not the way to go. As Entrepreneurs, we must make sure that we continue to network and build bridges!

    T. Kwasikpui

  6. Hi Chris,

    Nice article! Too often we view things through our thick ego lens and in midst of high emotions end up burning bridges. Not realizing that this cannot be undone. Leaving the situation in a way that allows reconnecting in future leaves room for a second chance. Off-course, we need to carefully walk the rope when we give that second chance. In the worst case, we will end up burning the bridge this time, but at least we gave it a second chance.


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