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Running a business with a friend

handshake

Many hands make light work, so the phrase goes and it's true, having another person on board will reduce your individual workload and provide both of you with additional input, ideas, inspiration and energy.

This article outlines the positives and negatives of starting a business with a friend, colleague or partner

The positives

• Having worked with a colleague or former colleague before, you know each other's strengths, weaknesses, skills and work ethic

• Running a business can impact the time you have to spend with your partner and family - if you're both involved you're able to enjoy time together, even though it's work

• With friends, colleagues or your partner, you have trust in each other - vitally important for the challenges you will face when running your business

• Complementing your own skills with those of a friend, colleague or partner can complete the skill sets you require to launch and run a business without having to hire externally

Just because you get on well as friends, doesn't mean you will get on well as colleagues

It's important to remember, just because you get on well as friends, doesn't mean you will get on well as colleagues.

Don't mix business with pleasure, so the phrase goes, and it's important to stress that although you might have a great personal relationship, this doesn't always transfer seamlessly into the business environment. Even with colleagues who you may have spent many hours with, when it's your own venture, it's a different animal.

The negatives

• Problems with the business can affect your relationship with these people

• If the business fails, so too could the relationship

• Business problems will affect your personal relationship and vice versa - it's impossible to completely separate the two

• Personal commitments or enthusiasm for the business can change with time, those changes may not always be compatible

If you do decide to run a business with a friend, family member partner or former colleague, formalise the business relationship from the start - list the responsibilities, investment requirements, the split of ownership, remuneration levels and what happens if the business and/or the relationship should fail. It's not a pleasant experience, but just blind faith that everything will be fine, is dangerous for the business and for you as individuals.

Some of the most successful and highly visible online success stories happened through partnerships between friends, colleagues or couples. You can do it too - but tread carefully. It's also good to remember, you can always invite a partner into the business once it's established.

This extract is taken from 'Start an Online Business In Easy Steps' by Jon Smith; this is available to buy from WHS, Waterstone's, Eason's, Amazon, PC World and www.ineasysteps.com. Copyright of this extract belongs to In Easy Steps Ltd.

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