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5 Things to Ask Before Going Into Business With a Friend

Partnerships in Business

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Starting a business with a friend can be a fun and profitable venture, but it can also wreak havoc on your relationship. There is a delicate balance between maintaining your friendship and growing your business, but it can be done. Before you go into business with a friend, here are five questions to ask yourself.

1. How well do you and your friend resolve disagreements?

Business partners are going to disagree from time to time, so if you and your friend aren't good at managing your personal conflicts, chances are you will struggle when it comes to managing your work arguments. Some people look at conflict as a bad thing, but the reality is that when you care about something, you want it to work out. Arguing in a healthy way is actually good for friendships and business arrangements.

If you and your friend don't argue at all, you still need to consider how you will settle business disagreements. If necessary, you may need to pull in a third party to help resolve things.

2. Does your friend have habits that bother you?

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If your pal has a few "quirks" that bother you, these things may become an issue once you go into business. We all have a few things about ourselves that our friends may overlook.  Examples are:

  • Tardiness. If your friend consistently shows up late, how will this play out in your business?
  • Clinginess. Your friend may be hesitant to work at your business without you.
  • Tendency to put things off. If you're reminding your friend about things like making plans or staying in touch, will you be okay taking this same role in your business life?
  • Disorganization. If your pal loses keys, misplaces appointment books, and fails to return things they borrowed, it may become an issue when you work together.

3. How much time will you each devote to the business?

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Starting a new business takes an incredible amount of work, so think about the time that you and your friend will realistically devote to work. Factor in items like childcare, present job, and time spent with family when determining what you'll be able to give to your business. When you do that, ask your friend to do the same and talk about your expectations.

4. What strengths and weaknesses do you each bring to the business?

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A business requires someone to handle finances, market, think of new products, create merchandise, and more. Do you and your friend have enough talent and know-how to cover all the necessary areas of business? If you both are similar in personality and strengths, will you ask another person to help with the areas you're not as strong in?

5. What is the definition of business success for each of you?

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Are you and your pal on the same page when it comes to expectations for your business? For example, One person may think success means being able to pay a portion of the bills with their income, while another is looking for more profit.  If you are content at a certain level, will your friend be pushing you to do more?

These questions can help you and your friend start off your business with reasonable expectations and effort. Overall, you want to make sure to preserve your friendship, which is much more important than your business. Friends are hard to come by and if you have someone wonderful in your life, think long and hard about how a new business venture will affect your friendship.

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