Should You Start a Small Business With Your Best Friend?

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business and friendship
You dream of starting a bakery or construction company, and your best friend makes a logical sounding board. As you talk about your plans, your friend expresses interest in participating with you. Is it a good idea for you to start your small business venture with your best friend?
Respect Strengths and Weaknesses
As friends, you know each other well. But before starting a business with your buddy, take a hard look at your strengths and weaknesses.
Often, the best business partnerships work because one partner’s weakness is the other partner’s strength. For example, you enjoy making sales pitches. Your friend excels at using estimating software. With these complementary traits, you and your friend work well together in a business setting. Here’s an analogy to put it into perspective for you. You’re a broken down 1981 Mustang. He’s the 1981 Mustang Parts. Together you make a mean team, but without one or the other, you’re significantly less effective.
Although your strengths and weaknesses complement each other, sometimes that’s not enough. The differences can quickly become annoying. By listing your strengths and weaknesses before opening your business’s doors, you can learn to respect each other. This understanding gives you a better chance of staying friends throughout the process.
Define the Relationship
Despite your trusting friendship, a business relationship requires a defined agreement. You and your friend need a clear outline of who will take care of each area of responsibility.
Who invests the necessary start-up capital? How are profits dispensed? Who handles payroll, hiring and firing?
Marketing and communication are more important factors to consider. For example, who will update social media sites and communicate with vendors and clients? Finally, what happens when one partner want to quit? By answering these questions, you start dealing with the hard decisions every business relationship faces.
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Legalize the Partnership
With your business partnership defined, it’s time to legalize the partnership. A clear contract outlines business ownership details, incorporates the venture and gives both of you legal protection. Do not skip this step. Hire a lawyer or licensed accounting professional to give you an overview of your choices.
Commit to Communicate
Without regular conversation, your business partnership will fail. Both of you must be willing to talk together regularly. Make a decision to handle conflict immediately and to discuss your business needs during regular meetings.
Maintain the Relationship
Events that occur in the office should stay in the office. In order to keep your relationship intact, spend time together pursing fun activities. Take an afternoon off and go shopping, or spend the day playing golf. Agree to set aside any discussion of business for a few hours and simply enjoy each other as friends.
Your best friend supports you and provides invaluable advice. Before starting a business together, consider how work will affect your relationship. Clearly define your roles and business venture. With adequate preparation and careful thought, you can decide if you’re ready and able to start a small business with your best friend.
Byline: Michelle is an aspiring writer who currently works for a company who prides themselves on having the best selection of 1981 Mustang parts (lucky for her dad). When she’s not working she’s blogging on anything and everything! She loves how blogging gives her the opportunity to improve her writing skills, voice her thoughts and opinions, and share advice with an unlimited audience.

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