Why friends shouldn’t do business together

Why friends shouldn’t do business together

“What’s one thing that you fear most going into business together?” I said as I sat in my friend's living room.

We were finally having a serious conversation about going into business together.

“Losing the friendship.”

“Yeah, I can agree with that.” I looked down because my previous experience with partners has not gone well.

This created a belief in me that partnerships just weren’t my thing but I was willing to give this one last try.

He broke my thought by saying, “That’s why we have to prioritize communication. No matter what so that we stay on the same page.”

I agreed and we discussed a few other concerns but ultimately what cemented the way we would move forward is by getting everything in writing.

Before I break down exactly how we did it let me say this.

I decided to go deeper into this topic because you always hear don’t do business with friends or family. While my experiences have made that true this time did feel different. I was working with someone who largely thought the way I did and wasn’t afraid to have tough conversations.

This makes it very easy to address situations head-on as clarity, understanding, and support are what we both strive to maintain throughout the friendship and partnership.

The first thing we agreed to is two meetings a month. The previous meetings would outline the agenda for the next so we always had a clear view of the topic.

For example, the meeting that we had in early January outlined who has what responsibilities in the business. This was key because this is where most partnerships go wrong. The business starts and one person assumes all the responsibilities while the other sits back and watches or helps when they so choose.

We wanted to face this right away by outlining everything that needed to be done in the business and then deciding which ones make sense to have together for one person to handle.

How it broke out for us was one person handles the front end–quotes, new client communication, and scheduling, while another handles the back end–invoices, client feedback, and quoting for opportunities with the current client base.

He handles the front. Me the back.

There is much more involved that I won’t go into here but you get the picture.

There are no questions, no second guessing, nothing. No excuse why anyone shouldn’t be doing what they agreed to do. Oh yeah, and we have this in the written agreement that both parties signed.

All we asked each other is that if one cannot handle their respective task then you just communicate for that help. Life does get in the way sometimes but that’s cool.

I believe that all my previous bad experiences helped me form this one now with a new partner. I know what bad partners look like so I can focus on cultivating good ones now.

If you have been debating on working with partners use this as a guideline to form a positive relationship and workflow among the group. The best way to address problems in business is to do it before they even arise.

Alright, take from this what you will.

You might be one successful partnership away from a higher income, a better business reputation, and a business that doesn’t take up more of your time/energy.