Owning a business with your best friend can be a great way to start up a successful business. Yet, many businesses run by best friends fail from poor business management. To avoid this, here are six things to consider before you bring your best bud in to co-own your business.
It’s about the business, not the friendship.
Friendship has to take the backseat. The business is your baby; you don’t sacrifice your baby for friends. Co-owning a business with your best friend means forging a partnership so that both of you can cooperate and help the business grow and develop into a success. Having your best friend around can be good because you have someone you can trust, but you must also be careful. When running the business, make sure you both stick to your own duties to avoid conflict and serious dilemmas.
There will be disagreements.
Handle disagreements without bringing personal issues into them. Disagreements should be handled dispassionately and objectively. Of course you want to bring up your best friend’s reckless tendencies you’ve witnessed in the past (and there may be many), but you need to remember that you both need to keep the business in mind, and you both must have a mature mindset. If things get really bad, perhaps it is time to call a consultant to handle issues.
Both of you must take full responsibility.
Bluntly put, your asses are on the line. Anything that happens with the business is both of your responsibilities. It’s not his/her fault; both of you are held accountable for either the success or failure of your business. It doesn’t matter what happened, it matters how you handle it. If you sit around pointing fingers at each other, nothing gets done. Again, it’s about the business, not the friendship, and you must handle disagreements wisely. This is about your livelihood! Take full responsibility for everyone’s actions, and make sure you both know every financial and social aspect of your business-that’s management.
Agreements must be met.
If you both had an agreement, they must be met. No excuses. Everything must be fair, and once everything is settled and over with, then you can move forward and run the business together without and withstanding tension. If you promised him/her a contract, give it. If you constantly let your pride get in the way, you’re a jerk. Be humble, and understand that this is for the sake of the business.
This is not a popularity contest.
You’re not in high school anymore. Grow up, and get your work done. Everyone should respect each other. Likability can get people far, work ethic carries them to the finish line. Your employees should respect you, and you should respect each other. Both of you need to be serious about the work you put in, otherwise you’ll be seen as clowns, and that will wreck your business’ reputation. Good work ethic binds people together. Be teammates, not competitors.
No special treatment.
You absolutely cannot give each other or your employees things from your business for free. If you both think your business is a free ride to the good life, you both shouldn’t be running a business in the first place. NEVER, EVER steal money from your own business. If you catch your best friend stealing from your business, get your lawyer on the phone right away and fire him/her, because that’s thievery and that is disgraceful to your business and shows how much of a sucky person your friend is for shattering your trust. On a less extreme level…you both may own the business, but if your best friend and you are thinking of just closing it for the day to drink, then that’s a whole day’s worth of money down the toilet. Be smart, be serious, and be successful.
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