“Never get into any business venture with friends.” A notion existing since ages. However, we still find college friends who have turned successful business partners. To share my own experience, there is this small eatery right at the corner of the street that leads to my apartment. It’s just a 7 minutes walk from my residence and since it has a great soothing ambiance, I love spending some quiet and peaceful moments there.
I am a regular visitor of this eatery and therefore Amy and Marina; owners of Fun & Feast have become a great acquaintance now. On having an occasional chit chat with them, I came to know, that they have known each other since high school and it is only 6 years now that they have become small business entrepreneurs. Knowing this I was awestruck and the immediate question was; “ Do you still continue to be the best of buddies or the business has taken over childhood friendship?”
Both of them wore a smile that suggested that I was not the first to have asked them a similar question. I received an interesting answer to my question. Getting into business with best friends has its own challenges and rewards. And when someone can find a balance, nothing is as interesting and enjoyable than “buddy – business” relationship.
I had a one and a half hour of long conversation with them that day. It was amazing and just on my way home I had a strong desire to share their ideas and tips of turning friendship into a buddy – business relationship with all my readers. So, here I am to share a few tips with you, before you get into any business with friends.
Things to know Before you begin a venture with your Friend
Finally, when you have decided to get into a business partnership with your friend; you have probably decided the type of business you want to start, the location and the finance required. These are few things any regular business requires. However, buddy business as described by Amy and Marina; requires some special attention; as it offers lot more than any random venture.
So want to know what are those? Here you go…..
Ask yourself, if you really trust the other side
Trust is an indispensable ingredient of buddy business tie up. And this is very different from trusting a friend with your new car. A business involves lot of efforts, money and above all; your career and success. When you are not in a position to have faith in your friend, getting into business is a worst step to take.Starting a business, initially brings failures and losses. So, if you cannot trust your friend during a bad phase, your business can never overcome failures to achieve success.
Know what is success according to your friend
As friends, you perhaps have similar visions that drive your personal lives, However, while running a business, “similar” is not enough. Being exact is more important. Ask your friend what is his/her expectations from this venture and what are his/her success quotients.
You may state a business successful when it has a good name in the community market and is capable to pay bills and make a handsome saving. However, your friend may think that a good brand name is the base for a successful business rather than handsome savings. So, when you are happy and content with your efforts and business profits, your friend may appear extremely dissatisfied and thus push you to put in more efforts.
However, as far as you can push your limits and work to reach similar levels of expectations, differences do not hamper your business. Otherwise, it is detrimental to your long lasting friendship, let alone the business.
Discuss job roles at the earliest
There has to be someone who meets clients and investors. There has to be someone who looks after production requirements, someone to look after workforce availability. These roles are different from each other; however, they are equally crucial for running a successful business. Therefore, discuss job roles specific to one’s own skills and interest.
Do not leave these undiscussed as it may hinder smooth running of your business leading to huge confusions. And again, do not enter into other territories, unless there’s a huge need for it. Continuous interference may hamper your friendship and thereby business.
How well do both of you handle failures?
A well established business that is earning profits does not lead to too many differences. However, when a business faces loss, differences take up magnified forms.
So similar mental strength, courage and ability to take risks are vital to run a business together. Therefore, if you take up business partnership with friends who are pessimistic and lack courage and confidence; a small failure is sufficient to scatter the set up.
Thus, before getting into joint ventures, discuss how will each of you handle failures and crisis scenarios. If you can get someone who has similar mental strength, overcoming unpleasant situations becomes easier than you can think. And this is the greatest advantage of having friends as business partners.
These were few of the things that Amy and Marina had done before they started with their small business. And since they had done their homework well, their small eatery is one of the busiest food outlets in the area. They have already become successful entrepreneurs and are planning to extend their business to other parts of the city as well.
So, if you too have a friend with whom you can start a business, go ahead and take your friendship to next level. However, do not forget to do your homework and make some difficult decisions before you plunge into this venture.