Building a Business with your Friends

When going into business with a friend, it is important to consider the pros and cons. When Hazel and I first started The Dahlia Girls we had already been friends for over 10 years, however, the amount of time you’ve known your friend doesn’t necessarily always matter. The most important thing is that the friend you are considering doing business with shares your same vision, you trust them and that they are going to work as hard as you. We both have the same business goals and dreams, which makes our business partnership not very difficult. Despite this,  you should always consider the pros and cons of developing a business relationship with friends.

In true Dahlia Girl fashion, I will begin with the Cons:

Friends Know Too Much Generally if you’ve been friends with someone for a long time, you know all of their personal business. You  know when they are going through drama, hard times and maybe even financial difficulties. In many cases, switching that off  switch from a  personal friendship into a business partnership can be a difficult task. It’s like, ” I know you’re boyfriend is cheating on you but, we need to discuss our budget today”.  When deciding to work with friends, it is critical to understand that business is strictly business and that personal matters can never mix. No matter what is going on in our personal lives, when Hazel and I are doing business we don’t bring up any personal drama. If your friend has attempted to use their personal relationship with you to impact the business in any way it is a red flag. For example, when starting a business there will be  startup costs and if your friend is unable to pay their portion due to financial difficulties, you should not feel inclined to pay. Carefully select a new business partner.

Power Struggle:   When doing business with  friends, you may have to acknowledge that you all have different personalities. As the business grows, one person may feel that another partner is ordering them around and keeping tabs on them. To eliminate any power struggles, Hazel and I have weekly meetings to hold each other accountable. We  discuss our goals and objectives for the week and if deadlines have been met. Despite this tip, some friends will still feel like you are bossing them around.

Friendship May Not Survive:  When going into business with your friend, understand that your friendship may not survive. There will be some ideas, potential opportunities and new ventures that you may just simply not agree upon. Hazel and I have a rule that if we disagree on something, then there needs to be a valid reason and why it would be detrimental  to our brand. Answers like, ” well I just don’t like that” doesn’t cut it.If you are planning on doing business with a friend and they do not share the same vision as you or  goals, then that partnership will probably not work. You must make sure that all parties involved are just as passionate and die hard about the brand as you are, because if not they will never work as hard as you. There is nothing worse than you putting in most of the work and your friend/ business partner making gains as well with minimal effort. It is so important to understand that outside of a personal friendship you are a team, and if one person falls that will be a reflection on the entire business.  Ask yourself if your friendship strong enough to endure a business partnership.

Here are the Pros:

Easier Communication Communication is key when having a business partnership with someone and if you are unable to speak your mind and express your thoughts openly it will not work. When going into business with your friends you are already equipped with the experience in handling their crazy a** ideas and raw emotions. You feel comfortable with calling them at 2 a.m with an innovative plan that can’t wait until daylight. Sometimes when you are going into a business partnership with someone new the communication is not as fluid and you are unsure how they are going to digest your creativity and concepts.

You Know Their Strengths and Weaknesses:  For a business to be successful it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of everyone involved to include  unique skills. Through this understanding, you are able to split up tasks and responsibilities in a way that is beneficial for the business. As a pro, you already are aware of the areas that your friend sinks or swims.

You Trust Them:  Hopefully if you are considering someone your friend, then you trust them. Having a high level of trust in your business partners should be one of the biggest expectations. Without trust, your business partner could steal money, change business accounts without your knowledge, speak down on you or even leave the business all together at any given time. When going into business with a friend, you have already built trust and earned it.

Take Over the World Together:  One of my favorite things about having a business partnership with a friend is that feeling of taking over the world together. There is nothing better than the enjoyment of watching your brand grow and sharing  that with your best friend. As a pro, you get to spend more time with someone you probably already see all the time anyways; while also following your dreams.

 

Remember that going into business with the wrong friend could ultimately destroy your whole vision and goals. A friend you have known your entire life, doesn’t necessarily make a better business partner than a friend you made in your adult years. Always choose your business partner wisely and take everything into consideration. If they are lazy in their personal life, then they will also be a lazy business partner. Thank you for reading and let us know, if you have ever gone into business with a friend. We want to know your experiences!

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