Entrepreneurship is a growing aspiration for many in the UK, with almost two-thirds of Brits harbouring a desire to set up their own business.
Starting an enterprise is a stressful and daunting process, which is why many people go into business with a close or trusted friend – after all, a problem shared is a problem halved.
However, there are pitfalls to starting a business with a friend – and this step-by-step guide will help you avoid them.
Before your business plans take off in any meaningful way, your first priority should be to ensure that you and your future business partner will be a good fit for working together.
The depth and length of your friendship may go some way to predicting your professional compatibility, but even the firmest of friends can be terrible business partners, for a variety of reasons.
Banner specialists instantprint released a recent report on desirable and undesirable traits in the workplace, providing a useful rubric for understanding the qualities which will serve your partnership best in a professional capacity; patience ranks highest, with 46% of UK workers surveyed agreeing it is the most desirable workplace personality trait, while organisation skills and enthusiasm were sought-after by one third of respondents.
The survey also pinpointed negative traits universally disliked in the workplace, appearance of which in your partnership could spell an early end to your business. Such traits include domineering attitudes and inflexibility, which could be detected early enough in the planning process to prevent personal or professional ramifications.
As with any robust business idea, the planning stage is crucial to the success of your partnership.
It is vital that you and your friend align your aspirations and expectations for the role, ensuring you are working towards the same core goals. Poor understanding of your shared trajectory can lead to division, and wasted energy pulling the business in opposite directions.
With a clear roadmap for your business enshrined in writing, you can make clear plans with regard to financial backing as well as specific milestones – and open yourself up to the division of labour.
Allocate Roles Early On
Part of your planning phase should include an understanding of your individual strengths and weaknesses, as well as the objectives for the roll-out of your product or service.
One of you might be a better public speaker, with a creative edge and a flair for adaptation; this would make you better-suited to meeting investors and plotting the front-end release of your business.
The other of you might be sharper and more organised, gearing you up for executive control of the company’s progression and development. Understanding the possibilities at the outset of starting your partnership means you can leverage your abilities to their fullest, and efficiently divide labour for the best possible chance at success.
In the aforementioned instantprint study, communication ranked amongst the highest-regarded workplace traits, and for good reason.
Communication is key to the success of any business, and this is doubly true for partnerships started by friends.
Your business is not an event; it is an ongoing process, with constant decision-making at the core of growth. You may not both be present for each and every decision, and trust is key in making the right decisions for the benefit of the whole, but keeping each other abreast of individual progress will ensure healthy growth overall.