How To Go Into Business With A Friend
When two or more people have known each other a few years and decide to take the plunge into a business together, there are a few considerations they should look at before making it official. Being business partners is very similar to being married as every decision one person makes will affect the other and there is going to be time when they can not agree on things. Going into business with a friend is going to take good communication as well as periods of compromise.
It will also need to be an equal partnership to prevent one person from being overly dominating, which may eventually ruin the business as well as the friendship. Although the pair may have known each other for years and believe they understand their habits, there are going to be differences in the approach on the job than in their approach at the ballgame or the fishing hole.
A complete, undisputable outline of responsibilities will have to be established so there can be no confusion about which partner is responsible for what function in the business as well as steps needed to reconcile any personality struggles that arise. Although they may known each other well, when it comes to running a business, it is easy to place blame on someone than it is to accept self responsibility.
When disagreements begin and there will be arguments, they should never take place in front of customers or other employees. Disagreements should be handled in the professional manner with workplace protocol and not like a bickering married couple. Some folks who went into business with a friend, in fact, use that thinking to stem arguments when they begin to argue, one will comment that they are acting like an old married couple, which usually sparks laughter and they can then work out their difference to the betterment of the business.
When going into business with a friend both must be willing to accept the faults of the other and understand they are going to have different approaches to the same circumstances. Understanding those differences will lead to the same results which should head off many disagreements with the simple notion that people will do things differently while reaching the same conclusion. They also have to have the same goals in mind before the business gets off the ground and have to agree on time lines with which to achieve those goals.
While this will be part of their basic business plan they will also have to agree on ways to monitor the goals to insure the business is on track to achieving them without laying individual blame if they fall short. Above all, no matter good of friends they are or how long they have known each other everything relating to the business needs to be in contract form. Every aspect of running the business needs to be in writing and not just a handshake. After all, even people in love who get married may need to sign a pre nuptial agreement.
Obinna Heche: Los Angeles- California
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