Recently I had a discussion with some people about entrepreneurship. The key question is “Should you start startups with your friends or not? We all know the saying “don’t mix business with pleasure”, and is going into business with your friends would just derail your relationship? What do you think? Who should you start a business with?”
I’m always wondering how to start a business and who should I start a business with. But I realize that I’m not a typical businessman alive so I left those questions behind my back. Last time I was about to start a business with my brother but I was too scared to break my comfort zone so we didn’t make it. The other day, one of my friends came up with small business ideas through an online platform in promoting our product but again we were too chill, and different working styles made us fail to balance in both professional and friendship issues. Different ideas from different people might be cool to start a business but the consequence is on how to control the ego especially in friendship, there must be the one who is being superior and too bossy in controlling everything. So, in the end, the essence of friendship value is just gone. For me, it’s kinda hard to start a business with friends once there’s no significant mutual understanding in dealing with professional work. Meaning, I need to find the soul of a business partner so I rather prefer to start a business with my colleague which is from working mate will turn out to be a good friend naturally.
The main concern is about ruining friendships. It would be very hard to be in business with your friend unless you both leave your egos behind. I know many startups that were launched by a group of friends and quite many of them are successful. Of course, there are some problems that can occur but you should sit and make a list of rules to discuss with your friend/friends before launching your mutual start-up. It will be perfect to get some layer of help. So that you can be 100% sure that everything will be fine in the future. I don’t have a mutual business with my friends but some of my colleagues are my friends. I always try to sit and talk about does and don’t for fruitful future collaboration. I think it’s better to discuss it before and no offense. I should admit that it would be worse if you don’t talk and don’t discuss it. For me, I have learned a great lesson with my present project which has affected my friendship, and it’s amazing how you have a friend you think you know too well until you join in a venture which involves several dimensions of professionalism, then you discover a character you didn’t know of. BUT what is helping me is I choose to stay focus, accept his or her caprices yet looking forward to succeeding in the venture, because if it fails my image is on the line. Yet, on the other hand, I have other friends in the same project who are so professional and work well, it has even strengthened our relationship. So this issue is relative to the character and personality of the friend/friends.
Meaning it depends on the nature of your friendship and the general character traits of the individuals. If your friend is hardworking, reliable and a person who is generally hands-on then that can be an amazing business partner. If on the other hand, your friend does not possess the qualities I have mentioned then it may not be a wise move. The only issue that is problematic is the possibility of ruining a friendship when the two come to a business-related disagreement. So how do you solve the issue? You and your friend should both agree to discuss and compromise because you both are working for the benefit of your company, not the other way round. A person has to be aware that their ideas may not always be the best and not get offended if someone disagrees with their idea. I knew some friends of mine were starting a business with their friend and it works and mostly it’s because of the same passion and goal to achieve. So far I really have no problem with the technical issues to design and collaborate, just I personally have no clue why it’s so hard for me to find the soul of matching partner to work with. Maybe because I’m too picky when it comes to the idea of something serious. I mean I’m so cool in the friendship world but I might be so strict and discipline in doing something professional so sometimes my friends can’t deal with my different characters in both places. Maybe because of that well I’m not sure. But I realize it’s totally okay. I mean I should find someone who I can totally trust for a serious thing like starting a business is, and I will most likely find another person who is ready to take it as seriously as I do. Patience is the key.