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How to Work With Friends Without Ruining Your Relationship

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Since I am in business with my best friend and do much work with my brother and son, I thought it would be interesting to find out how many other people are in the same position and how they feel about taking on such an endeavor. Also, learn how to thrive in such an environment. In 2018 Entrepreneur and SurveyMonkey surveyed 1007 people and found that 78% worked with a friend or family member (spouse, parent, or sibling being).

According to Dan Saks, President & Co-CEO of AppDirect, if you start a business with your best friend, three tips will see you through the ups and downs of creating your business.

#1 Align Vision & Values

Make sure your vision and values are established and aligned. There is nothing worse than you or your business partner chasing a shiny object to discover later it has nothing to do with your business causing you to waste valuable time and money. These bright little objects are a dime a dozen and can cause major arguments that sometimes can lead to irreparable damage to your relationship, especially if money is lost.

Of those surveyed the majority felt positive about the arrangement with 87% saying they were happy in business together and 41% saying it strengthened their bond. On the other hand, 15% said the relationship was permanently damaged, 14% said the arrangement pushed them apart, and 8% left the business over arguments.

#2 Divide & Conquer

You can move faster, becoming more agile when you each can focus time, effort, and resources that compliment your skillset to get the job done. It does not mean you don’t check in with each other through meetings, emails, and text. Communication is still the lifeblood of any business.

The 68% of the people surveyed said the best way to make the business relationship work is to define roles, 65% use constructive criticism, 53% respect each other’s confidentiality, and 24% have an exit strategy.

What I found to be true is that because we are best friends, trust is already established but do not take advantage of it. Keep the lines of communication open.

72% working together helps to do work

#3 Maintain Personal & Professional Relationship

Take the time to connect on a personal level. Business is stressful enough, so do not muddy it up with reports or business conversations while trying to enjoy dinner or a movie. Relax and do those things you use to do before you created a new business venture. Stay friends!

59% of respondents said they struggled with a lack of separation, and 56% said they worried about damage to their relationship. The majority surveyed felt the worst type of situation to be in is one where one is the employee, and the other is the manager. They also found financial decisions stressful if they were not on equal footing.

In the end, remember businesses can come and go, but family and friends are a lifetime.



Jennifer I. Baker, Marketing Communications Consultant, helps businesses sail ahead of the competition by creating brand content that resonates with audiences. The founder of JIB Marketing Group and Co-Founder & Publisher of Powerful Women Reign, LLC reach out for tips on how to be heard in a busy digital world.


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