When friends become business partners

November 17, 2014

Starting a business with a close friend is often seen as a risky venture. Maintaining the friendship is often as important to aspiring entrepreneurs as the success of the company. This can be a challenge in a fast-paced and high-stress environment.  However, that does not be the case— it is possible to strike a healthy balance.

Startup advisor, investor and Inc. contributor Murray Newlands offers the following guidance for strengthening a strong bond in friendship and business:

  • Communicate openly and as frequently as possible. Starting and running a new company can be hectic. Business partners should always make time to check in with each other when the need to make an important decision arises. “Ambiguity exposes the cracks in relationships and can be a pitfall. Regularly scheduled, open and honest communication is an essential part of a successful partnership,” Newlands writes.
  • Define the role of each partner clearly and in detail. Those roles, Newlands advises, will need to expand or shift depending on the progress the company makes, new projects it takes on or even a partner’s personal or health circumstances. This, too, comes down to open communication.
  • Make it known that you respect each other, and give equal and fair consideration to each partner’s opinion. When it comes to making tough decisions, however, Newlands notes that it’s important for all involved to recognize that the success of the company trumps the egos of its founders.

While it certainly poses challenges that you might not encounter starting a business on your own, having a business partner you trust, and whose ideas you value, can certainly boost your business’s success. If you are starting a company with friends, contact us today to learn about the benefits of incorporating.