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How to Start a Business With Your BFF

via businessnewsdaily : Friends are shoulders to lean on, partners in crime and sometimes even personal therapists. It’s likely you have a lot in common, from your values to your hobbies.

With similar interests and a respectful relationship, you might consider embracing the business world together. It could very well be a natural fit. However, it’s important to fully understand what you’re getting into and how your dynamic might change once you’re business partners.

Business News Daily interviewed successful business buddies who offered tips for aspiring entrepreneurial duos. [Need help finding a business partner? Follow these tips.]

Establish roles early on

There will be times in the partnership when you need to be able to agree to disagree and move forward. Without doing so, you may find that when the going gets tough, both of you will create a stalemate, which may end your partnership and friendship, said Ashley Morris and Jason Smylie, owners of the Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop franchise. They advised creating a hierarchy and giving one person the authority to make final decisions.

“This will be the person who has the ultimate say if you don’t agree,” they said. “Make sure you both fully agree that you’re okay with that person having the power.”

“It is crucial for friends going into business together to have a clear understanding of responsibilities from the beginning,” added Chris Covelli and Garrett Green, owners of #GetFried French Fry Cafe. “This will help contentious situations down the line. If your roles are set, there is no confusion when situations arise.”

Know each other’s skills

Building trust in a business relationship is as important as it is in a marriage. Allowing your partner to do their job without looking over their shoulder builds a strong leadership together.

“Know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney, founders of Painting with a Twist. “Split up duties and then that person ‘owns’ the duties. The other person can chime in, but having ownership of a department or project empowers the person and builds trust between the partners. The only area where this isn’t done is when financial decisions need to be made, as both partners need to be a part of these conversations.”

Having different skill sets is important; otherwise, you’ll end up with duplicating efforts, said Morris and Smylie. It’s important to embrace your own strengths and trust that your partner can handle their area of expertise.

Put it all on paper

Alex Arlotta and Summer Vasilas, co-founders of Waxing the City, suggested drawing up a business operating agreement. While you may not think you need such an agreement, it helps separate your business and your friendship, and keeps any potential issues black and white.

“The start to any new venture is fun and exciting, but life happens and people’s views and opinions change,” Arlotta and Vasilas told Business News Daily. “You don’t want those changes to affect the business as a whole. Just like a prenuptial agreement, you hope you never have to use it, but [if] you do, it makes things a lot easier.”

Creating your company vision, mission and values together, and making the company values an extension of both of your personal values, is another piece of the puzzle.

“Having the same values is important because, as you grow, you will hire, fire and lead by these values, and if you both are not completely aligned, then you will find it very difficult making hard employee and corporate decisions,” said Morris and Smylie.

Despite the challenges of entrepreneurship, all the pairs agreed that the biggest advantage of starting a business with a best friend is just that: getting to work with your friend, laughing and having fun, and knowing that the passion you both have for the industry and business will carry you through the hard times.


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