Starting a business with a friend can seem like a reasonable and secure course of action, especially when you’ve known the person for years. However, with any long-term commitment, it’s important to understand that you and your partner are on the same page. Regardless of whether you’ve known your friend for 5 years or your entire life, consider these next 5 points to determine if your partner in crime should be your partner in business.
Check if you and your friend share the same business goals.
In order to run a successful business, you and your business partner should discuss both the immediate and distant future of your enterprise. Are the two of you prepared to build a business that could last for decades to come, or would you rather create a high-growth business with a short-term acquisition goal? While both methods have their respective pros and cons, a strategic business development program should accommodate a mutual goal.
Consider your fundamental values.
Financial success. Longevity. A greater good. These are all legitimate reasons individuals start and run businesses. Although you may know your friend very well, be sure to discuss one another’s core values in terms of money and morals. One can exert a drastically different set of values and beliefs once the concept of money is introduced.
Think about complimentary skills and work habits.
They say opposites attract and in order for you and your business partner to grow together, you have to learn together. Your business should be beneficial for both parties. What’s more, it’s important to understand one another’s work habits, especially in the beginning when time management is a key component.
Analyze each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Strengths and weaknesses, we all have them. And much like the aforementioned point, you and your business partner need to discuss which specific roles and responsibilities each of you should shoulder. More than likely, the both of you will not be the CEO. One of you may not even be the CFO or EVP. Perhaps your business partner is best at design or business development. Perhaps your strength lies in accounting or marketing. Thoroughly discuss these points to avoid stepping on toes or breaching boundaries.
Draw clear lines between work and personal.
It’s difficult to be critical or demanding with those we love. However, in order to maintain both a professional and unprofessional relationship, you and your friend should discuss boundaries. Do you stop discussing work the moment you leave the office? Perhaps you establish rules of communication that prevent the two of you from addressing concerns outside of scheduled meetings. Either way, separating business with personal will be one of those more challenging yet necessary components of going into business with your friend.
Building something memorable and challenging with a close companion can be extremely rewarding. But it is important to analyze the risk and make sure your friendship is strong enough to endure.