starting a business with friends

If you’ve got a business in mind then it might be something you want to involve other people in. So how can you go about that?

Starting Alone

1 is the loneliness number, and often people are afraid to go it alone. Working for yourself will often put a lot of burden on your shoulders, especially where you are supporting yourself and others. Self-employment can be a lot lonelier then most people realise, especially if you are working from home all day with little in the way of outside contact. If you have the drive and ambition then it can often be better to go it alone then be weighed down with other people.

With A Friend

I’m going to go against the grain here and say its better not to start a business with a friend. I have seen this work successfully on many occasion where two friends will set up, but I think it has more drawbacks than positives. Yes it’s nice to have someone in your corner to carry the load but on the other hand it’s easy to fall out with a friend where money becomes involved. Mixing professional and social lives is never easy. Oh and going to the pub is really not having a ‘business meeting’.

Groups

More people is more problems and more likely to fail. This is simply through the fact that in order to maintain a situation where everyone can live, you have to get much more work in. Obviously if you are setting up a restaurant or some such then you will need a group of people. The important thing is that everyone has a clearly defined role and is held accountable for that. Often the problems where you have a group starting is that one person needs to be leader. If everything is up for debate then decisions can take a lot longer, which is not always ideal.

Families

Normally it’s a case that a family member will start a business, and then over time members of a family will get dragged into. (some more willingly than others!) I find generally that although this can work, more often than not it can cause issues. Namely that it’s hard to fire someone and then have to see them all the time! If you have non-related staff you also have to consider the impact of bringing in a family member, it can be quite frustrating if they perceive a lack of progression through nepotism.

No Easy Roads

No matter what form you set up there are positives and negatives. I set up with two friends and it quickly became clear that I was the one with the drive to get things done, and although I kept them involved, it was much easier when I took the reins. I also had a group of friends set up a ‘rival’ business at the same time as me, this very quickly started arguments and could have cost us our friendship but common sense prevailed.

Running a business is not easy and compartmentalising what goes on at work and what goes on at home is not easy. No matter who you’re working with it’s key to have your own support network who’ll listen to you grumble about your clients after a long week.

 

©2020 Oliver Gwynne

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