Seven tips to work with family and friends | SupportBiz

Managing Growth

Seven tips to work with family and friends

Doing business with friends and/or family is, often, not an easy task. Many times, conflicting interests and values and different styles of working give rise to tussles, which ultimately leads to frustration.

You cannot really do anything about this frustration, because you do not want your friendship or ties with family to get affected. This, in turn, results into even more frustration.

What can you do in order to make working with family/friends easier? SupportBiz lists seven tips to help you do this.

1.     Discuss openly.

Healthy conversations can go a long way towards ironing out any differences in values/opinions that you might have with your friends/family. Spend the time to communicate honestly with your friends/family about what is bothering you, and how you would prefer things being done. Try to arrive at a compromise that is mid-way for the both of you.  

2.     Be clear about roles from the start.

It would do you well to be clear about your role and that of your friends/family in your business, right from the start. Who is investing how much money in the business? Who will contribute the technical know-how? Who will hire the staff? Who will supervise the day-to-day running of the business? Who will work on ensuring the steady growth of the business? How will you resolve any conflicts that arise between you and your friends/family? Clarity about these and other aspects, right from the initial stages of business, will help you figure out a working arrangement in which you do not step on each other’s toes.

3.     Take time out to do family/friend things together.

It helps to take time off business, once in a while, and do friend/family things together with your partner. This will enable both of you to view each other as more than partners, and realise how much you value a relationship with the other person apart from business. This will go a long way towards the easy and speedy resolution of any conflicts of interest that might arise between you.

4.     Clarify money matters.

Before you get into business dealings with your friends/family, have a thorough discussion with them about money matters. How much money does each of you plan to invest? What amount do you intend to pay each other as salary? How much financial risk is each of you willing to take? How long is each of you willing to wait before the business becomes financially viable? How will you settle monetary matters if one of you decides to give up on the business? Have a clear idea of these aspects before you start a business with family/friends.

5.     Agree upon a vision for your business.

For your business to grow steadily, it is essential that you and your partner work in tandem. Hence, it is crucial that you and your family member/friend be in agreement about the vision that you have for the business. Both of you should be able to visualise the same kind of future for the business, and have similar goals for it.

6.     Be clear about working style.

Before you start a business with your family/friends, have an honest discussion about them about your working style. Talk honestly about what type of behaviour you like at work, and what kind of behaviour is most likely to put you off. Ask them about their values, as far as business is concerned, and ensure that you will be comfortable with their working style.

7.     Put it in writing.

You might have the best of intentions at heart when you start a business with friends/family, but it is always good to have all agreements in writing. Consult a lawyer and have a formal agreement drawn up, covering all the issues that you think might arise in future. Determine who owns what in the business, and how you will separate assets in case of one partner quitting it. Decide on which activities can be done individually by each partner, and which activities would need mutual consent. Also, detail the procedure that you will follow in case of a conflict, when you are unable to reach a mutual understanding.