Kennelly Business Law

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Is your buddy your best bet for a business partner?

Deciding to start a business can be an exciting time. You’ve watched the people around you, and you have a great idea for something that can help them live better lives. Whether you are planning on providing a product or a service, you have a vision for how the future can be better for your customers.

Going into business alone can be scary. Some people start their business ideas in the garage talking to an old friend, others start the planning phase alone and pitch the concept after thinking about it for a while. Having a friend at your side may make the idea of your new venture less intimidating, but is it the best path?

Here’s what to consider before choosing your friend as a business partner.

Go with what you know

The best part about starting your new business with a friend is that, to a certain extent, you already know what you are getting into. You have supported each other through the years and seen how you handle good times and bad.

  • Compatible coworkers. Depending on how you met and where life has taken you, you may already have a clear understanding of how you work together. You know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Even if you are both lacking in an area, you may already know about it and have a strategy for overcoming it.
  • Clear communication. You also have a history of communication. You got to be friends, somehow, right? You understand each other’s verbal and nonverbal cues and may even be able to anticipate the other’s needs.

There are more fish in the sea

Unfortunately, some people go into business looking at all the positives of starting an enterprise with a friend but do not take a careful look at the areas that can cause trouble. Keep in mind that the best partner for your business may be someone other than your friend.

  • Building Boundaries. A significant issue for some business partners is boundaries. Having a foundation in friendship leaves an open door for hidden expectations and feelings of obligation that go beyond what you envisioned for your company.
  • Bearing bad news. Even in a typical office setting, talking about performance issues is not a conversation anyone enjoys. Being friends can make it even more awkward. Whether it is poor performance or impossible expectations, it can be difficult to talk to your friend about changing the dynamic of the workplace.

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