Strengths and Weaknesses
How well do you know your friend? How well do they know you? Think carefully about the skills and talents each of you will bring to your business – and exactly what skills and talents your business will need. If you are both very similar in terms of skills, will you outsource those skills you don’t have? Is one of you prepared to undertake some training? For example, perhaps two friends who love clothes decide to start an online fashion e-zine. They may write well about fashion, but do not know how to compose fashion photographs. Will they hire a photographer for the visuals? Employ a designer for the look of their site? These are the types of decisions you and your friend need to talk through.
For an unbiased view, also be sure to do information and background checks through a company such as GlobalX.
When it comes to large investments, it can’t hurt to be thorough in your research.
Do either of you have any irritating habits that will get in the way of your business? Turning up late for example, or being absentminded about returning phone calls can be a huge negative when you’re trying to get a business off the ground. Speak openly and frankly with your friends about these sorts of behaviours before you get in too deep.
Consider what you both want to achieve in your business before you start. How will you know if you’re successful? How will your friend? Are your milestones the same, or similar? They don’t have to be precisely the same, but it’s another problem altogether if they’re in conflict. To manage a business, you both have to be pulling in more or less the same direction, and it’s as well to have a similar idea of where you’re headed at the outset.
Have you and your friend ever had a disagreement? How was it resolved? Was it resolved? How did you feel about the way it was resolved? Think carefully about this before you agree to go into business with this person. Friends can make great business partners; but not always.
Time and Money Commitment
Starting and growing a new business takes up a huge amount of time. How much time are you planning to put into this new venture? How about your friend? This is an important conversation to have because there is a lot to consider, including day jobs, family commitments, and any and all financial input.
When you’re considering going into business with a friend, there’s a lot to think about. The best advice is not to rush into anything, and to be okay with walking away from the idea. Good friends are hard to come by, and you may not want to risk the relationship you have, for one that may only be a pipe dream.
Have you ever been in business with friends or family, or both? If so, what did you learn to be on the lookout for? Share your insights in the comments box below.