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How to Run a Business With a Friend

October 1 2016 | By Helen Baginska

It is a common opinion that running a company with a friend is challenging because it is often not easy to separate personal and business aspects of life.  In case of a disagreement during a work process, it is hard to keep it to “strictly business” when it is your friend who is on the other side of the conflict. Still, there are numerous successful companies that are run by friends. How do they do it? We gathered a few valuable tips on this topic for you.

Communicate with each other.

Make regular communication a habit in your business relationship. Put some basic ground rules in place and agree on how business decisions are made. No matter how busy the work might get, set some time for weekly meetings with your business partner to check in and make sure you are on the same page.  As friends you must have very similar belief systems, so resolving issues in an empathetic manner should be easier.

Get things in writing.

No matter how much you trust each other, it is always better to put important things in writing.  Things change and people do too. Wanting to make certain things official does not mean that there is no trust. It means that both parties choose to be professional and there is a mutual understanding on how things should be.

Understand the roles.

Stay realistic about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Choose roles and tasks that are suited for your skill sets. If you are a numbers person, don’t try to control creative part of the process and the other way around. Stick to what you know and what you’re best at. That’s how you bring the most benefits to your business.

Respect your partner.

In real life, friends joke around, make fun of each other and, let’s be honest, playfully insult each other too. In a professional business environment, it is better to tone these things down. The same joke in different environments can have two different meanings. Be careful not to offend each other by mistake. 

Schedule some friend time.

Don’t neglect your friendship because you are busy with work. Schedule some friend time when you and your friend can talk about things unrelated to work. It is important to invest time in your friendship too. Remember that you became friends before you became business partners.

Celebrate milestones.

It is pretty easy to get caught up in the routine. Celebrate milestones together! Both big and small. Go out for dinner or order pizza for the entire office. Treat yourselves and remember that every win, every success is hours of work invested by both of you.



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