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Friends and business… yea, or nah?

Picture of Pankaj Sharma
Pankaj Sharma
// // No one told you (startup) life was gonna be this way... should your friends be in there with you too?

In a world where work-life boundaries are blurrier than ever, it’s no surprise that the age-old question of mixing friendship with business continues to baffle even the most seasoned entrepreneurs. Is it a recipe for success, or a Pandora’s box of challenges?

Here are some pros and cons around the circus that is going into business with friends.

The Pros

1. Trust and Loyalty

Imagine building a team of trusted companions who have your back through thick and thin. One of the most significant pros of mixing friends with business is the trust and loyalty that often comes with these relationships. Friends are more likely to stick around in tough times, offering unwavering support.

2. Seamless Communication

When your business partner is also your best buddy, communication flows like a conversation at your local coffee shop. It’s as if telepathy takes over, and decisions are made with ease.

3. Shared Vision

Birds of a feather flock together, right? Friends who share a vision for a business can be an unstoppable force. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, making it easier to allocate tasks and responsibilities.

4. An Unconventional and Fun Workplace

Mixing friends and business can infuse a unique and enjoyable atmosphere into your workplace. It’s not unusual to see office meetings transform into laugh-filled brainstorming sessions.

The Cons

1. Strained Friendships

In the high-pressure world of business, disagreements and stress can strain even the strongest of friendships. When personal feelings clash with professional decisions, it’s a tightrope walk without a safety net.

2. Communication Breakdowns

While seamless communication is a pro, it can also be a con. What happens when you disagree on a business decision? Does that argument at the bar spill over into the boardroom? Communication breakdowns can lead to misunderstandings that have lasting consequences.

3. Legal and Financial Dilemmas

When friends are in business together, issues related to money and legalities can become thorny. From investment disputes to contract breaches, these issues can create rifts that are hard to mend.

4. Mixing Business with Pleasure

The line between business and personal life can blur, leading to an inability to unwind. It’s challenging to leave work at the office when you’re meeting your business partners for a barbecue on the weekend.

Balancing Act: Tips for Success

  1. Set Clear Boundaries: establish well-defined roles and responsibilities, both in business and friendship. This will help prevent misunderstandings and ensure everyone knows their place.
  2. Communication is Key: keep the channels of communication open. Be transparent about your expectations and any issues that arise. Honesty is your best friend.
  3. Legal Safeguards: have a written partnership agreement, and consider seeking legal advice. This document can help navigate disputes and protect your friendship.
  4. Separate Work and Play: make a conscious effort to separate business from personal life. Set boundaries on when you talk shop and when you engage in leisure activities.
  5. Periodic Check-Ins: regularly assess the health of your business and friendship. If something isn’t working, address it promptly and make necessary adjustments.

In the thrilling circus of mixing friends and business, it’s a balancing act that can lead to spectacular success or a dramatic fall.

The key is to weigh the pros and cons, stay vigilant, and keep the show running. Friendships may be the best ingredient for your business recipe, or they might require a touch of spice to maintain harmony. Or you don’t go near it at all.

As you venture into this high-wire act, just remember – with careful balance, trust, and a dash of humour, you may be able turn this circus into the greatest show on earth.


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Picture of Pankaj Sharma

Pankaj Sharma

Co-founder, former co-founder Toast My Curry, and couple of other startups, Pankaj is passionate about anything to do with startup life. With more than 20+ years in media, advertising and communication, Pankaj enjoys merging his passion of media and startup here at Startup News… apart from travelling around the world.
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