Their friendship started 10 years ago when the two met and instantly clicked…

Human Resource gurus Madelein Smit and Laura Potgieter of HR Company Solutions attribute the success of their business above all else to their sisterly love and their ability to find a reason to laugh, even if it is at each other.

Here are their top five tips for creating a long-lasting friendship (and how to apply those traits in business):

1. Laughter

Laugh. Laugh at yourself, laugh at each other and find a reason to laugh even when things aren’t going your way.

Smit believes that the backbone of their friendship was built with laughter, an element they have incorporated into the business. Plans don’t always go accordingly in the corporate realm, but finding a funny side even in moments of disappointment can lighten the mood and actually assist you in troubleshooting why something didn’t work.

WIN a R 2,000 Woolworths Voucher

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

2. Wine

Smit and Potgieter have acknowledged how they have bonded over wine in the years they have known each other and worked together. But Potgieter says that wine in their particular instance is merely the social catalyst, with similar interactions such as forming a company sports team or team-building exercises having the same abilities in strengthening the bond between colleagues or friends.

The adage, you don’t truly know someone until you have shared a drink with them, rings true.

Human Resource gurus Madelein Smit and Laura Potgieter of HR Company Solutions

3. Unconditional support

In any relationship, the level of support offered by the micro and macro cosmos deeply enhance our abilities to function at optimum levels.

Both Smit and Potgieter claim the support offered by the other assisted them in not only dealing with the barriers they faced but allowed them to stand stronger with the one propping the other one up.

4. Own up to your weaknesses

The success of any business relies heavily on the type of leadership offered by management. But having a leader who is either unaware of their shortcomings or refuses to ask for help is an infallible characteristic to hinder the growth of the business.

Smit says that the same is true with friendships. She says where she has been out of her depths, Potgieter has been there to bridge the gap and vice versa.

5. Differences are not a hindrance

Learning to leverage each other’s differences can be a springboard for embracing diversity, both at work and in a relationship. Learn to use the various perspectives offered by other to assess the ideal vantage point when making a decision. But both parties have to be willing to listen.

Relationships are ultimately listening to understand and being able to use that insight to advance your relationship, whether on a personal or professional level.

The two friends manage HR Company Solutions, with Smit at the helm as Managing Director and Potgieter as the head of recruitment, marketing and social media.