INC Magazine is one of the old-school must-reads for the Entrepreneurial Set. It’s also one of the few publications I still read as a hard copy, as in not on a screen but in my hands and with pages.

I particularly like Norm Brodsky, a phenomenally successful entrepreneur who writes a regular column in INC. In one recent column (Secrets of a $110 Million Man), Brodsky talks about guidelines that the best entrepreneurs follow. These are powerful tips that are both sobering and right-on, but one really upset me.

Here are a few:

  • A sale isn’t a sale until you collect.
    Ok, I agree. Simple enough.
  • Cash is hard to get and easy to spend. Make it before you spend it.
    Again, I got it. (Duh.)
  • Numbers run a business. If you don’t know how to read them, you are flying blind.
    Yes, very true.
  • Now here’s the one I am having trouble with: You have no friends in business, only associates.

Many of my best friends are my business friends (and vice versa). And why not?

I’d rather be guilty of being naive in this department than the opposite. Now, I know that business is business and nothing is (or should be) personal in business. But, isn’t this is a bit of a pessimistic or all-or-nothing view?

Then again, clearly Mr. Brodsky is a very successful guy who walks the walk and knows what he is talking about.

Despite that, though, I will continue to blur the line, if and when I want, between friends and associates. People matter, relationships matter and in the end, that’s all we have.