Doing business with your friends or family
Often times I read here and there that you should follow common sense when choosing your business partners. Common sense, allegedly, tells you not to choose family or friends.
I disagree (slightly).
Separate business from personal
One general truth when venturing into business is trying to separate one’s business side from personal matters. And as logical as it seems, it’s very hard to follow for some.
When I previously said that I (slightly) digressed from that common sense, I did not mean do choose your friends. In my opinion, you should choose your business partners regardless of whether they are your friends or family. They should be the best fit for your business.
The exercise is simple: if you had to choose from the 10 best people in the world and your friend, fiancée or relative was amongst them, would you still choose him/her?
When I agreed to create MarsBased with my two best friends, I knew they were the right people. They were the people I wanted to work with, risk my money for, and count on when skies would cloud up.
They are also the ones that can separate business from personal matters. Finding someone who can do this is quite a real challenge, when choosing business partners.
Friends over family
If I had to take one over the other, that would be friends. Definitely.
After all, in life you choose your friends. You don’t (always) choose your family. Some people grow more attached to family than others. I, for one, belong to those who don’t, so my opinion might slightly be biased on this one.
Over the course of the years you get to see which friends you have had along since you were a kid, which ones can you count on during hard times, which ones encourage you to move on, or which ones chickened away when in trouble.
Chances are, if you have been best friends with someone since childhood AND he/she is a very good professional that shares goals with you, you have found your business partner.
Take all of this with a pinch of salt
By no means I am implying that all friends are a good option. People who looked like they would stand up to the challenge might turn out to be a real flop. But that could happen with anyone.
Very few things are as complicated as telling one of your best friends you don’t want to venture into business with him. It’s probably harder to fire him. But luckily enough, I haven’t had to fire anyone.
General consensus exists because it’s true for the most part. So it’s advisable to follow it, if you want to play it safe.
But then, there are the exceptions. And I am happy to be amongst them.
Feel free to share your experiences with doing business with friends and/or family!
This post was originally published on Medium on 2015-04-07: Doing business with your friends or family.