When you think about starting a business, there are no doubt hundreds of thoughts racing through your head; thousands of things to do. One of the most important considerations when starting a business with a friend or family member is ensuring your personal and business relationship flourishes.
Understand your skills
Play to your strengths and make sure your roles complement each other. Take time to evaluate where your respective strengths lie and how you can combine your skills for the benefit of your company.
I myself am a planner; I love nothing more than juggling numerous projects and client goals, not to mention being “the words” person. I will be the one typing up business plans, procedures, proposals, tender documents, happily! It is therefore especially useful that my co-founder and friend Sharon is the number cruncher; an experienced CA who loves nothing more than “playing excel” to the early hours of the morning – of understanding each 1p of our clients’ businesses and helping them understand it too – so they can make effective business decisions.
With this in mind, it is important to assess your own talents and allocate individual roles to bring the best of your characteristics together.
Make sure everything is in writing from the start
Don’t rely on an informal agreement – have everything in place to make sure this is a formal business arrangement. Having a business plan, strategy, goals, responsibilities and remuneration all documented saves any confusion or tension in years to come. We have all heard of horror stories where people have let close personal relationships cloud their judgement on important company decisions.
Don’t let disagreements simmer
Communication is of course key with any business relationship. Making sure to resolve differences as soon as they arise is even more important. Friends will have a tendency to let disagreements stew – causing tension outside of work as well as in the office.
Maintaining a healthy business and personal relationship is paramount, so make sure that throughout disagreements you communicate as openly and honestly as possible.
Outline your ‘friend’ and ‘work’ time
Separating your work relationship and personal relationship with your co-founder can be incredibly difficult. It’s vital, however, that you make sure you manage your ‘friend time’ and your ‘work time’.
Letting your work agenda seep through to the downtime you spend means that your personal relationship can easily become overshadowed by business.
It helps to set specific meeting times to help separate personal and business time together – ensuring to increase your productivity at work and reduce the pressure on your down time.