Should Friends Be Business Partners?

The age-old proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.” There’s truth in that for businesses too. Partnership is a very vital part of business growth and some people choose to partner with their friends. The thrill of starting a business with a close friend is undeniable. Shared trust, complementary skills, and a pre-existing bond can seem like the perfect recipe for success.

22% of employees believe they’re equally or more productive when working alongside friends, with 21% saying it makes them more creative.”

What Type Of Friends Work Together?

The Friends to Business Partners plot is a common trope where two close friends decide to take their relationship to a professional level by starting a business together. It can play out in a few ways:

Supportive Collaboration: This is the ideal scenario. The friends leverage their existing trust and understanding to build a strong business partnership. Their different strengths complement each other, and they find a way to balance friendship and work.

Clash of Visions: Things get complicated when the friends have different ideas about how to run the business. Disagreements turn personal, straining the friendship and potentially causing the business to fail.

Friends with Benefits (Financially): One friend might have the business idea and passion, but the other has the necessary resources or skills. This can lead to an imbalance in power and resentment.

If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”. African Proverb – Martha Goedert

How Can Friends Work Together Successfully?

While friendship is a great foundation, here are some Ideal Traits Business Partners Should Possess

Honest Communication: Open and honest communication is crucial. Don’t shy away from tough conversations about finances, roles, and expectations.

Complementary Skills: Do your strengths fill each other’s gaps? An ideal partnership combines different skill sets. One might be the creative spark, while the other excels at organization.

Shared Vision & Values: Are you on the same page about the business goals and core values? A shared vision for the future helps navigate disagreements and keeps you motivated.

Formalize the Partnership: Don’t just wing it! Create a partnership agreement outlining roles, profit sharing, and what happens if things go south. A lawyer can help ensure everyone’s protected.

Respect Boundaries: Maintain a healthy work-life balance. Respect personal time and avoid letting business disagreements ruin your friendship.

Open to Feedback: Be receptive to constructive criticism from your partner. Remember, you’re a team, and honest feedback can help the business grow.

By building a strong foundation on these principles, friends can increase their chances of becoming successful business partners. Remember, open communication, defined roles, and a shared vision are key to navigating the inevitable bumps along the road.

Here are some friends who turned successful business partners

  1. Jobberman- Jobberman was founded by Olalekan OludeOpeyemi “Ope” Awoyemi , and Ayodeji “Deji” Adewunmi. They found a gap in the job sector in Nigeria and saw it as an opportunity to solve problems.
  2. Paystack: Founded in 2016 by Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olwalenke, Paystack is a Nigerian payment processing company that helps businesses accept online payments. The company has grown rapidly and is now a major player in the African fintech space.
  3. First Check Africa– Founded by Eloho Omame and Odunayo Eweniyi
  4. PiggyvestJosh Chibueze, Odunayo Eweniyi, and Somto Ifueze sought to find

You can also check out 7 Businesses That Were Founded by Good Friends

Did you know that 40% of founding teams include people who were friends socially before building their startups?

Questions to ask before going into business with a friend

  • Does your friend have the necessary skills and experience for the business?
  • Can you both communicate openly and honestly, even when you disagree?
  • How will you handle profits, losses, and decision-making?
  • Can you maintain a healthy friendship even if the business doesn’t work out?

In a professional relationship, friendship can be a very useful tool, but it’s crucial to approach it with open communication and reasonable expectations. You may improve your chances of creating a profitable and long-lasting business together by carefully weighing the benefits and disadvantages, talking over important details with your friend, and formalizing your partnership agreement.

Also Read: Collaborating with Other Social Entrepreneurs: 4 Undeniable Benefits


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