Often we get these bright ideas to do something major and of course, we want to include our friends. What could be better to go into business and do it with a friend right? Not so fast!
Unless you know that you and your friend are capable of going into business together there are a few things that you should think about. Business isn’t easy but when we add the equation of friends we have to know the work ethic of our friends, if they are equal to our own or else we can just remain friends and leave the business partner scenario out.
How do you know if your friend will be a great business partner? Well, what has your friend done before? Have they succeeded at anything else? Do they have drive and focus? Are they able to pick up where you leave off? Do you have to motivate your friend? Are your passions near or at the same levels? If they can only attribute excitement for the business ideas you’ll need someone with a bit more business sense and motivation to follow through. They don’t have to know everything; they just have to be willing to learn. These are just a few things you need to ponder before you make your decision.
On the other aspect, let’s say that your friend is the perfect person to go into business with because he or she has the same drive and focus that you have. Where you lack they have strength and you have strength where they have lack. You know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and you’re able to play off of each other like an old married couple.
There are some rules in business but as friends there are even more rules so that we leave the friendship intact if everything else fails the relationship will remain. There is no competing when you’re on the same team. You hold each other up and protect each other just as you would your spouse in a marriage. It is the same thing. There is no privacy in business from the other business partner. When you’re in business, you’re money is their money and vice versa. It all comes from the same piece of pie. There’s no your pie or my pie when you’re in business together it comes from the same crust. The business account must always be discussed and votes taken. Everything is on the table, no holding back information. A third party is never privy to information that your business partner is not aware of.
There will always be creative differences but you and your friend/business partner must always fight fair. Forgive each other often whenever one person is not doing enough and the other might be doing too much. Love each other and protect each other. Going from friends to business partners can be tough but if done right it can be successful for all involved.
Another rule is to pay attention to each other’s needs. If you see the other needs to be saved or help don’t wait for them to ask, step in and do whatever is necessary for the sake of the business.
There have been many business models that have started out with best friends that are successful. Those that are, are due to rules of engagement being set prior to starting the business. They’ve not only set the rules, but changed some as needed and everyone adheres. It doesn’t mean that there weren’t a few missteps, but friends who are challenged in their business know that they must do whatever for the success of the business. They know that the brand comes first and their friendship is just an added bonus.
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