The Pros & Cons Of Doing Business With A Friend
Updated: Mar 19
The following is an article “The Pros & Cons Of Doing Business With A Friend” by Marc Primo.
On one hand, you have happy ever after stories about friends like Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia who started a business together and the rest is Airbnb history. But on the other hand, there are horror stories about friendships like that of Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, which disintegrated as a result of starting the biggest social network on the planet.
So, what exactly is it about working together that makes or breaks a friendship? The following are the pros and cons of what could happen when BFFs decide to take the entrepreneurial plunge as partners:
Good chemistry – There’s a reason why you and your best buddy are exactly that. There’s a spark between the both of you that’s as natural as fire. Whether you’ve been mates for one year or one decade, the fact that you’re good friends speaks highly of your chemistry. If you play hard together, chances are you’ll work hard together too. Why not use that to your advantage?
Trust factor – No friendship is complete unless there’s mutual trust involved. If you think that your best friend is a brother from another mother, then you must already trust him like you normally would a sibling. This is a major factor when finances come into play. Why partner with someone who you don’t know from Adam, when it could very well be your best friend?
Shared vision – Another reason for sizzling chemistry between good friends is mutual interests or shared goals in life. Meeting somebody who dreams as big as you isn’t as common as you think. That’s why most of the time, a meeting of the minds is what creates the strongest bonds that can result in a fireworks display.
Risk factor – No matter how tight you and your bud are, the reality is all businesses involve an element of risk. More than just the financial kind, poor business decisions can lead to all sorts of problems, putting a strain on even the strongest of relationships. Whenever emotions come into play, particularly when money is involved, friendships can become compromised—sometimes irreparably.
Different expectations – While you and your best mate might agree on a business idea, it doesn’t follow that you will always be on the same page. While the concept of two peas in a pod might appeal to you, another harsh reality is that we are all individuals, wired to think differently at some point. As time goes by, most of us start to develop our own thought processes, and agreeing to disagree is usually the first sign of a red flag.
Third parties – Granted that your relationship with your best friend-turned-business-partner stands the test of time, it is inevitable that a third party will eventually join the picture. Whether it is in the form of a spouse, investor, or both, don’t be surprised if that person serves as living proof of an adage that is as old as it is true: “two’s company, three’s a crowd”.