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Tips on starting a business with a friend

Each year, after a summer vacation, I meet many people who feel uneasy about going back to the same old job and who talk to me about wanting to start their own business.

Wonderful, I think. But one thing is a little scary and that is that so many are planning to start their own business with a best friend. Don't get me wrong - there is absolutely nothing wrong with the idea, but experience also shows the risks of starting a business together with a friend.

If two people start their own company simply because they are best friends (yes, you can hear a bit of irony in the tone), you should be careful because friendship is no guarantee for a successful business. If you complement each other's personalities and areas of expertise and have exactly the same work ethic and motivation - then it's perfect.

The risk is that you fall out with each other, perhaps because one of you work more than the other, or if you perhaps have completely different views on how things should be done. Little things can become more infected just because you are best friends.

Here are some important points you should be aware of if you are going to start your own business with your best friend:

1. Does your friend have knowledge that you don't, that complements what you know?

2. Does your friend have the same values ​​as you when it comes to ethical ideals and goals of the company?

3. Does your friend have a healthy relationship with his/her ego?

4. Can your friend manage stress and can you tackle adversity together?

5. Does your friend realize that entrepreneurship is not a glamorous job, but a drudgery that you have to enjoy to be able to succeed.

6. Is your friend sustained and targeted?

7. Will your customers like your friend?

8. When you are faced with different choices in the future and think differently – will you be able to come up with a solution that both of you can live with?

With clear answers to these questions, not romantic wishful thinking, you will find it easier to decide if you should start a business with your best friend or not. There are just too many stories about friends who have started a company together and become enemies for life - often because of money.

But if you are able to agree and complement each other, there's probably nothing that's going to stop your success as entrepreneurs together.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
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