Friends To Partners

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Thinking of going into business with a friend or colleague? You’ll be feeling a mixture of excitement and fear at the prospect but perhaps too a little trepidation about how a business partnership might affect your friendship with the other party.

In this guide we take a look at some of the issues you might face setting up as a duo and how to overcome the most common problems.

Assigning roles

The reason you work so well together is because you both bring different skills to the table. Before you go into business together, those unsaid skills are going to have to be made concrete, written down and divided up. You will need to decide who is responsible for what element and which elements you’ll be working on together.

Any disputes at this stage should be easily resolved before you launch. Have a business plan drawn up, which effectively acts as an agreement between the two of you. You’ll be sure to review this document as the business moves forward, checking and re-evaluating your goals and objectives and how you are both working to achieve them.

Legal footing

You’ll need to make sure you have any legal agreements around your business clearly and quickly drawn up.

Make sure your business is properly registered for tax and has had all your trading clearances agreed. Find a lawyer you trust to oversee any legal documentation you need to draw up and to be your business litigation lawyer later down the line if need be.

Remember your values

You started off as friends and you need to remember that this is the core of your relationship. Make sure your relationship can stand the rigors of business together and that you can properly separate business from your personal relationship.

Continue to check in with each other as friends regularly and to make sure that you’re not putting your friendship under any undue strain.

Make sure you speak face-to-face at least once a day, particularly as business takes off, to make sure you’re still pulling together and to iron out any issues before they become real problems.

It might be that you think in much the same way or have two very different approaches. Learn to listen to each other and judge each idea on its own merit and not through the lens of how you would normally do things.

Running a business partnership can be daunting and there will be a lot of paperwork and working practices to sort out before you even begin trading. The great news is that you will have your friend next to you to help and support through the tough times and who understands exactly what you’re going through. Someone to get through the bad times and to celebrate the good, friends in business can work well with clear boundaries and a firm plan in place.

Make sure to get everything in place before you start and you’ll soon be toasting each other’s success and a bright business future together.

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