By Damilola Faustino
Starting a business is one thing but the question of who you are working with to start the business is also very important. Obviously, you cannot do this on your own. You may need friends. To help you decide if you and your friend can make it as business partners, take a look at these pros and cons of founding with friends.
Trust and honesty
Because you already know and trust your friend, you can trust them to be supportive and open, and vice versa. It’s sometimes easier to be honest about problems because the trust already exists. You already know each other so well that it’s easier to decide who will take on which responsibilities and how you can each leverage your strengths.
A shared vision
When you start a new business, being on the same page with your co-founders about the vision for the business is crucial. By starting out as friends, you’ve probably been dreaming about this vision together—and know where you want to take it.
Someone to depend on
Entrepreneurship is no walk in the park, especially at the beginning. Many people give up and go back to the corporate world without a support system encouraging them to continue. Founding with friends means you’ll always have someone to support you during the tough times.
More fun at work
Having your best friend around all the time is great. You can joke around together, have a relaxed atmosphere in the office, and just generally have more fun at work. You will be unwinding with someone you can trust and not just a random stranger!
The tendency to overlook faults
We all know that our friends are not perfect—and yet it can sometimes be difficult to see the flaws that others do or call them out for behaviour that might not serve the business. No one wants to ruin their personal relationships with friends—but ignoring problems can lead to the collapse of the business or a bigger problem.
Of course, no one thinks that they will be competing for control when they go into a business with their friends. However, it happens all the time. Entrepreneurs are very versatile, but when you’re getting into business with friends, knowing which roles each of you will handle is crucial. If one person starts taking charge and acting as the manager, the other founders might become frustrated and communication can break down.
Work and social life go together
Although working together can be a lot of fun, it’s a double-edged sword. Your socializing might just become more like work, and it’s easy to lose sight of your friendship as a separate entity. Because you and your buddy will be living and be breathing the new business, your work and life might just become one entity, and you need to be able to step back and take some time for yourself.
A potentially bitter ending
Of course, the biggest pitfall of founding with friends is the potential for a messy breakup. If you start arguing regularly, disagree on the direction to take the business, or if one partner is picking up the slack for the other, resentment can brew and this can result to the end of the friendship which may sometimes mean the end of the business.
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