There is a cliché out there, "Don't do business with friends or family". I want to debunk that cliché and support it. I will give you some personal examples and my suggestions on how you can make it work.
Why are we often told not to do business with our friends or family?
I have been following Gary Vaynerchuk, I am not going to bore you with facts about who he is and what he does, you can click on his name and it will take you there if you are interested. The short story of it is he is a business man who took his family business from 3m to 60m in 5 years. His dad literally dragged him into the business.
He now owns a successful 100m media company called Vanyer Media with his brother A.J.
Gary and his brother work especially well together because of their different strengths that they bring to the business.
If you do not want to continue reading this post then that most important take way here is, it doesn't matter if the person you are in business with is your friend, family or a complete stranger (okay maybe not a stranger, if you do not know the person you are going into business with chances of its success are very meniscal). What matters are your character/values, and what you bring to the business.
Those two thing have to line up with your partner or partners. You do not want to be head butting in the business. This typically occurs when you have conflicting values and similar strengths.
Everyone should know what they are great at, where their strengths lie. Whatever you do, do not tell your partner what they are doing is wrong if you are not an expert on the subject or have the core strengths they do. Of course common sense prevails. What makes you shine will ultimately super exceed their common sense.
My most recent start up business, K.V. Business Solutions, I have partnered up with one of my best friends. We have been friends for 15 years. After attending the same school, we went our separate ways. Yet we both ended up becoming entrepreneurs, something we did not anticipate in our teenage hood.
We support, encourage, and challenge each other by bringing different tools, and expert knowledge, to becoming a versatile venture company.
The mission is to give talented individuals a leap into entrepreneurship, accelerating their growth into becoming a sustainable competitive company in their industry.
So far I have been reinforcing that you should go into business with friends and family. Now let's look at it on the flip side of things so you can see that I do not hold a bias opinion.
I have witnessed friends becoming hostile towards each other, and family's estranged. This is both awkward and distressing. Especially when you know both sides well and are then put on the spot to make a hard choice. Knowing that both sides are right and wrong.
Trust, money, reputation, integrity is all confronted with disdain. This holds especially true when both partners bear exact strengths that clash because either one thinks they are smarter, better or have their way of solving a problem that the other partner disagrees with.
This doesn't happen all the time, but is more likely to become the 'Clash Of The Titans'.
So what are my suggestions to having the right fit as a partner? Do not exclude your family or friends because they could become your valuable asset as proven in this post. More importantly do not look for someone else to compliment your weakness, these people you can hire, instead look for someone else to complement your strengths.
So if one person is a genius with marketing, and you have a strength in accounting, or financial backing, you can blend the two and become an efficient conglomerate.
Look at the strengths of your partners and employees and double down on them. Leverage them to crush your competition if you are not in a super niche market, or a monopoly, which most of you reading this I assume you are not.
Go at the same pace. You will not do well if one partner is a sprinter and the other is a walker or at best a jogger. You need to be running the marathon at the same pace, being on the same page. Use transparency all the time; for one it builds an amazing culture and trust. There is no room for uncomfortable surprises.
Understand each other and what your goals are for the business and company. Visit this topic frequently since minds always evolve.
Business is about building relationships and it is also about, well, business. So don't forget that the hard questions will be asked, assumptions will be challenged and, tough decisions will have to be made. Treat a business as a profitable venture and not as a happy marry go round.
You are at war; your enemy is the competition. No need to make enemies within your organization. Although that is ultimately what the market and the competition aim to do. To break your partnership/company down psychologically.
"It is not so much about what you do, but who you do it with."
The relationship of your partner is unimpeded. What holds value is your partner's character, strengths, support, communication, and synergy. If you truly think about it, you have a head start with someone who you already know.
"You will go much further with an all star team then you would ever by yourself."Thank you for taking the time to read this post. To be continued....
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