There are many success stories of start-ups founded by close friends who have known each other since school, college or university. A good friend may seem like the ideal business partner because you already know you have a lot in common and enjoy spending time together. But in fact, businesses started by friends are less likely to succeed, with a study from Harvard Business School showing that there was a 30% greater chance of a founder leaving a business that started with a friend.
Here are some important points to help you decide whether you and your friend can work together.
Friends often assume that they know each other better than they do and might project their own values onto the other person. Before you start a business, it's important not to make any assumptions and to communicate clearly what you both expect to contribute and what you expect to get from the business.
Look at your discussions about the business as an interview or a first date and ask the tough questions before getting too involved. While you might know your friend well in a social context, you might not know anything about their working style or how they interact on a professional level. It's better to identify possible problem areas before they occur.
Evaluate your priorities and find out if you share the same goals. If both of you truly have the same passion and are fully committed to the project, you could have great success. However, if one person is torn by other commitments, this could lead to conflict later on. It's also tempting to take conflicts more personally if you're working with a friend.
However, for some, the personal connection could strengthen both the friendship and the business. If you and your friend have experience working through conflict and helping each other through adversity, you might be better equipped to face the challenges of business together.
Not necessarily a recipe for success
Don't make assumptions
Ask the tough questions
Evaluate your priorities
Consider the strength of your friendship