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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

The Delicate Dance: Deciding If You Should Go Into Business with a Friend

Embarking on a business venture is an exhilarating journey. While doing this with a close friend can be very appealing, it also comes with unique challenges and involves navigating some delicate and complicated dynamics. While starting a business is always a risky endeavor, the stakes are higher when doing this with a friend because you run the risk of damaging the friendship.  


Today we'll explore the nuances of deciding whether to start a business with your friend and offer insights to help you in this decision-making process. The following elements are especially important to consider before setting up shop with your BFF.


Value Alignment: Partners who operate from the same set of values will naturally work together better. If you are good friends with someone, it is likely that you share similar values. But don’t assume this to be the case without having a candid discussion about it. For example, at G2 Solutions, treating our clients with dignity guides all of our decisions. The fact that we both believe in this wholeheartedly helps us more easily navigate any crossroads we face when interacting with our clients.

 

Compatibility in Vision and Goals: It's crucial to assess if your vision for the business aligns with your partner’s hopes and dreams. Even with a strong friendship bond, differing professional aspirations or divergent paths for the business can lead to conflicts down the road. What are you each hoping to get out of the venture? How do you see yourselves balancing the business with your personal life? Having candid conversations about your long-term objectives, goals, and expectations for the business is essential to ensure alignment.

 

Open Communication Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful partnership, but even more so with business partners who are also friends. Transparency and honesty are paramount and both parties need to be practiced in communicating clearly and productively. You’ll need to be able to discuss challenges openly and develop strategies for resolving conflicts constructively. Remember, conflicts are inevitable, but how they're managed can make or break the partnership and destroy the friendship.

 

Complementary Skills and Strengths: Assessing each other's skills, strengths, and weaknesses is also important when considering going into business with someone else. Ideally, you want complementary skill sets that enhance the overall capabilities of the team. By taking an honest inventory of your respective strengths and identifying areas where additional expertise may be needed, you’ll begin your journey with accurate expectations of what each person brings to the collaboration.

 

A Trial Run: Before committing to a full-fledged business partnership, consider testing the waters with smaller projects or ventures. This allows you to gauge compatibility, assess working dynamics, and identify any red flags before making a significant commitment. Use these experiences to evaluate how well you work together, communicate, and resolve challenges. If planning a party with your buddy leaves you irritated and resentful you might want to re-think moving that collaboration into the business world.

 

Trust and Respect: Trust and respect are the heart of any successful partnership, whether personal or professional. Just because you enjoy each other at happy hour, doesn’t mean the good times will translate into the working world. Be sure the trust you have for your buddy runs deep enough to sustain stresses and challenges. Ideally, you and your partner/friend want what’s best for each of you personally and for the business. If each of you are operating from this perspective, you can be more agile as you make decisions for your company.

Deciding if you should go into business with a friend is a weighty decision that requires careful consideration. While the prospect of building something meaningful together can be enticing, it's essential to approach the partnership with eyes wide open, acknowledging the potential challenges and complexities that may arise.

 

If you’ve decided to take the plunge with your pal, come back next week when we’ll talk about actions you can take to keep the friendship strong while setting the business up for success.

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