Working with your best friend, romantic partner, or family member may sound like a dream come true. But if things go awry, you could lose more than time, money, and dreams of success; your relationship could also be in jeopardy.
So before you embark on a business venture with your bestie, there might be some ground rules for working with friends (and family) you and your future co-worker should consider.
- Don’t forget that you’re friends: You need to extend your relationship beyond the office and beyond just the two of you – so make sure you still do all the fun things you did together, before the business came along.
- Keep business and personal separate. When you’re off the clock, you’re friends; at work, it’s all business. That’s one of the “rules” for keeping both relationships healthy. Talk about business first, and then you can chat.”
- Embrace conflict: When going into business with anyone, there will be conflict. It must be aired out. Talk things out. The saying ‘do not go to bed angry’ is as applicable in a business partnership as it is in a romantic relationship. If something is bothering you, address it immediately. The important thing isn’t to agree on every little decision, but to share the grand vision
- Keep things Legit. In the excitement of starting a new business with your bestie, especially if there’s instant success, it can be easy to sweep some procedures under the rug. But business owners say that airtight agreements will protect you both. Inject some formality into the relationship — e.g., contracts, written protocol, etc. Have everything in writing. Starting a company is a journey, you want to be clear you are on the same page as your partner in terms of roles and responsibilities and finances.
- Trust is key: All in all, you must (must, must) pick a partner who you trust: personally, financially, ethically, and beyond. It’s a huge benefit to work with someone you can be totally honest with, and still trust that the relationship won’t be impeded
Being in business is not for everyone, and understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and how those around you can pick up the slack and offer support, is important. Compromise is the name of the game in any partnership.
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