My friend and I have had an idea for a business and we’re both really keen to get the ball rolling with it, however I do have my worries regarding working with a friend.
So many people say the last thing you should do is go into business with family or friends, but you went into business with Melanie your daughter so I was wondering if I could have your take on this as someone with firsthand experience.
What have you done to enable you to work together successfully? Any advice would be truly appreciated.
If you want to go into business with your friend because you both share the same drive, passion and knowledge and have considered all the financial implications of setting up your new enterprise, then you have the makings of a good partnership. These are the same requirements that are necessary no matter who you go into business with.
As with anyone starting their own business, it will not be easy. There will be challenging times when emotions run high and you want to give up. This is when you and your friend will experience each other in a position that you are not familiar with. This is going to feel strange, however, it is important that when you are at work, you leave your buddy relationship at the door and replace it with a formal relationship. Do not allow these relationships to cross over, do not include personal feelings and remain professional. It is just as important that away from your desk/office you revert back into your natural relationship with your mate.
Have your own defined roles and responsibilities in the business. This will allow you to make your own judgements without having to rely on each other constantly.
Whilst you are friends, I still advise that you draw up a contract that states clear terms regarding financial input, positions and a get out clause. Even the most successful partnerships would have prioritised this action at the initial stages of setting up their business. Having a contract is not to be viewed as a negative execution of untrust but as a safety net that gives you both comfort in knowing exactly where you both stand and are heading.
As you rightly say, Melanie and I have gone into business with each other and we also have our own roles in the family business too. The reason we have achieved a successful working relationship is because we do all the above. We also have the advantage of sharing the same goals, knowing what each other are thinking and we respect the way each other work. We have a lot of fun because we love what we are doing and know that each other feels the same and it is wonderful to share the enjoyment with each other.
If you are prepared to consider all the above, then do not let a good opportunity pass you by, take the bull by the horns and go for it.
I really hope that this has helped. Remember me when you are rich and famous!