There is some truth in the common saying that ‘There are big ships and small ships, but the best ship is friendship’. Indeed, friendship on its own is a beautiful and lovely thing, but when friendship is mixed up with business then sometimes complications can be formed. Once a friendship has cracks forming in it, then it becomes very tough to make things alright once again. Given here is a list on things which you ought to consider when you decide to start a business with a close friend of yours.
1. How well do you know this ‘friend’?
It might often happen that we call a person our friend, simply because we have spent some time with him or her and we have fun hanging out together and talking about various different things. In order to enter into a business with someone you have to make sure that you are able to trust this individual and have some previous experience of working with this individual at some point of time. If working with that person has been a pleasant and pleasurable experience then getting into a business together could be a good idea.
2. Is your friend an honest person or does he or she tend to lie:
There is certainly some truth in the common saying that honesty is the best policy, and in order for two business partners to make it big in the corporate world they have to be honest and straightforward individuals. The business world is full of swindlers and cheats who will be willing to take anyone for a ride even if that person is their friend. So make sure that you have enough information about that individual and do ensure that he is someone who you will be able to trust with your eyes closed.
3. Are you both investing equal amount of money?
One important thing to consider when starting a business with a friend is, how much is each person going to invest? Are you both going to invest equal amounts of money or will one be giving more than the other. Make sure that both of you are giving more or less equals amounts of money as it is mainly on monetary aspects that big problems happen in the future. Rather than regretting your decision later on, it is better to think wisely right from the start. A mistake you make in the formative years of your business could cost you heavily in the long run.
4. What happens when your two don’t agree on an issue?
Before you think of getting into a business with your friend, one important thing which you need to consider is ‘In the event of not agreeing on an important decision, then what?’ Who will settle the matter and how will you be able to come to a conclusion? This is something which may seem like a small issue, but in actual fact this is one of the key issues which cause problems later on. So rather than having big problems in time to come, it is better to know at the very onset how such things will be sorted out by the two of you, without any sort of ill will.
5. Are both of you in it for the same reasons?
Make sure that you are clear about the reasons why your friend wants to enter into this partnership with you, are his intentions pure, is he really passionate about this joint venture which you two are getting into? Or is he just in it for the money? Having the same or similar reason and intentions for starting a business is very important so that both of you can work towards the same goals rather than finding at a later point that both of you’ll have different dreams as well as expectations from the business which you’ll have started. So make sure to discuss this matter together.
6. How different are you two in terms of thought processes:
If you know your friend well and also know that you’ll have similar ways of thinking, then entering a business might turn out to be a very positive thing for both of you. Taking decisions with someone who has a mindset similar as yours is very easy. However at the same time another thing to remember is that just because your friend thinks in a different way than you, it does not imply that you two will not be able to be successful business partners. With his different point of view he might be able to present you, a different way of looking at the very same situation.
7. How willing are you two to make compromises:
One of the most important things to consider when you are thinking of starting a business with your friend is, how rigid are both of you in terms of your mental makeup? Are you both willing to comply sometimes or are you both just too stubborn to listen to the other persons point of view. If both of you are always at loggerheads with one another then chances are that you two will never be able to arrive at solutions to even the simplest of problems. In order to make your business a success you two need to be receptive to new ideas and ways of thinking.
8. Do you two have equal amount of risk tolerance?
In order to remain a relevant part of today’s twenty first century business world, taking risks is an absolute must. If you are unwilling to take risks then chances are that your business will never be able to take off. If both of you have different degrees of risk tolerance then you ought to consider how you’ll will work past this. Remember that taking risks is an important part of any business, but ensure that you two never pin all your hopes in one place rather you two should be willing to take calculated risks only after having done your homework properly.
9. Ensure you two are aware of the different roles which you will be playing:
A very important thing which you need to consider when starting a business with your friend is, what roles will each of you will be performing. After all there is some truth in the common saying that too many cooks only spoil the broth. However at the same time ensure that both of you are adhering to the same standards of excellence and that at no point in time will either of you be willing to accept sub standard work which will put the company name in jeopardy. Work together, but have your own set of responsibilities.
10. Will you let professional issues affect your personal relationship?
In the event of having a bad day at work where you two have disagreed on various key decisions, will you let this feeling affect the personal bond which you have. Separating your personal and professional life becomes an even harder task when you are starting a business with your friend. If you work with your friend then you most certainly do run the risk of losing a good friend. You two should try your best to maintain the love and respect which you two have for one another under all circumstances.
11. What happens if the business fails?
One important thing to consider when you are starting a business with your friend is that, in the event of your business venture failing what will happen to your friendship? Will you be able to continue being friends or will the fact that the business which had so much potential and was unable to take off make things too bitter between both of you? The business world is not an easy world to survive in and failure is something that can come anyone’s way. So consider this important thing before you decide to start a business with your friend.
12. Ensure that both of you never stop communicating with one another:
Communication is key in order to make your business work. Ensure that the friend whom you are thinking of starting your business with is a person with good communication skills. Make sure that he or she is someone who will never make you feel left out or not in the loop when key decisions related to your business are being taken. This is something that has the power to ruin any business venture. Rather than regretting your decision to start a business later on, it is important that you weigh all the pros and cons very carefully at the very onset.
13. Will either of you take criticism personally?
Business does involve a lot of give and take, if anyone in the organization is doing something wrong then as the head of the company it is your responsibility to check that individual even if that individual happens to be your partner and friend. You must ask yourself the question, is your friend someone who takes any and every comment to heart? If so then he might prove to be impossible to work with. Business ventures should be embarked on only if you are sure of what you are doing; if not then chances are you will not succeed in your endeavor.
14. Are you two in it for the long haul or short term gain?
One of the most important things which you need to consider when you are going to start a business with your friend is that ‘Are both of you in this venture for the long haul or simply for short term gains’. If you two differ on this key point right at the very onset then maybe you should reconsider your decision rather than making a blunder.
15. Is your friend very over bearing and bossy?
Ensure that the friend who you are starting your business with is not someone who is too over bearing and bossy. Since half of this business belongs to you it is of paramount importance that you take the pains of getting your point across. If you are too quiet and unwilling to put forth your view as and when required then chances are that in the time to come you will be seen as an irrelevant and dispensable part of the company. You will be putting your position in jeopardy.
16. Who will be the successor to the company?
In the business world it is of paramount importance to focus on the present, yet at the same time it is also vital to make provisions for the future. Keeping this very thing in mind, you must decide on the fact that in time to come who will be the successor of the company, especially if you have no children or prodigy of your own.
17. Does your friend lack leadership skills which are required?
There is no point embarking on his business venture with someone who lacks leadership skills. A business will never be successful if the two partners at the head are not visionaries and dreamers who have the potential to lead their team members from the front. Leadership skills are vital for any business entrepreneur.
So needless to say that entering a business with a friend is something which is not as easy as it sounds. If you two are willing to work together as a team, then the business is sure to be a success, yet if you two are constantly at loggerheads with one another then working together will be near impossible. In this day and age remaining a relevant part of today’s business world is a tough task indeed, so rather than being in competition with each other, it is better to join forces and take the world by storm. Take this step only after you have carefully weighed the pros and cons.