It happens all the time, starting a business with a close friend sounds like a lot of fun…but it’s not always wine and roses. Priorities change and two people may soon have two completely different visions for the company long term. I’ve been to the school of hard knocks in regard to partnership, and I’ve seen it destroy others’ friendships over the years. So, think long and hard before going into a partnership and if you decide to move forward, be sure you have plans in place for things like an exit strategy if one partner wants out, financing the biz issues, time commitments etc. In my book, Your Idea, Inc. I have a survey that’s helpful to discuss with a potential partner before starting a business so as not to end a wonderful friendship but as a starting point, I recommend lots of dicsussion!
Here are some questions to start with:
1. Is this business/idea your top priority?
2. How many hours per week do you plan on committing to our venture?
3. What’s your goal for this company?
Which of us is more capable of dealing with the financial issues? Marketing and sales? Website and social media?
4. How will we solve an issue if we disagree? Who will have the final say? Who would be mediator if we cannot come to terms?
5. List your top 3 strengths that you bring to the table.
6. List your 3 weaknesses, where you may need the most support.
7. What are qualities you most admire in your business partner?
8. What qualities scare or intimidate you about your biz partner?
Pros and Cons
Working with someone has pros and cons. Of course, it nice to have the support and different perspective, but you will need to compromise. Begin talking, break the ice, know ahead of time that things may get uncomfortable. Then you can move forward with a true and meaningful understanding of the way your partnership will operate.
Preserving the Friendship
Try to spend time on the friendship outside of work and when you do, try to not talk about work issues. Try to keep the two relationships totally separate, as hard as that may seem. Have a glass of wine with your girlfriend and talk about your relationship, kids, whatever — anything but work. Of course, if it comes up, discuss whatever needs to be discussed, but make an effort not to do so during “friend” time.
About Sandy Abrams
Sandy Abrams is founder and CEO of Moisture Jamzz, Inc. (www.moisturejamzz.com). Founded in 1993 around her signature moisturizing glove product, Sandy built her company from scratch into a business grossing millions without a business degree. Today, it is still a privately held corporation that Sandy runs with her husband. Moisture Jamzz has counted among its clients Bath & Body Works; the Estée Lauder Company; H2O PLUS; Crabtree & Evelyn; Bare Escentuals; Bed, Bath, & Beyond; Linens ’n Things; Stroud’s; Williams-Sonoma’s Chambers Catalog; Bloomingdale’s; and QVC. Her products have been featured by editors in many of the top lifestyle publications such as In Style, The New York Times, Glamour, Shape, Cosmo, Redbook, Modern Bride, and Beauty Launchpad. Sandy’s new book Your Idea, Inc. is a step by step guidebook to help first time entrepreneurs follow in her footsteps www.YourIdeaInc.com.