11 Important Things to do when Going into Business with Family and Friends

by Angela Civitella

When companies started laying people off due to the pandemic, one business leadership coach says a trend she saw was friends and family coming together and going into business together. And now the new trend: Many of those businesses and relationships are coming crashing down.

The following tips will help you avoid this happening to you:

  1. Set Rules and Boundaries Early: The key is to write down what each party expects so you can be on the same page from the beginning.
  2. Create a Legal Agreement: This is different from the one described above, as it has to do with what each person is putting into the business with respect to investments, including money. It also will usually spell out what happens in the event the business is dissolved.
  3. Relationships Come First: Always put your relationships first before business. Let this rule be the guiding light in how you deal with family and friends in your business.
  4. Relationships Come First, Except When the Business Comes First: If a family member who is part of your business does something wrong — such as commits fraud or steals from the business — you have to act quickly and get rid of them. If they don’t care about the business, then you shouldn’t care about keeping them around. Period.
  5. Define What Success Is: Make sure you and other stakeholders know what you are working towards and what types of successes to expect. For instance: one person might define success in terms of money, while someone else might see it as feeling fulfilled or helping as many people as possible.
  6. Talk About Time Commitments: Everyone should know how much time and effort it will take to reach success. Set a wide window, even if you’re sure it won’t take that long. It usually takes more work and more blood, sweat and tears than most people realize.
  7. Don’t Be Afraid to Disagree: Disagreements should never be personal. They are simply part of how a business works and should be treated as such. In fact, it can even be healthy to have opposing views work together to create solutions.
  8. Become a Great Communicator and an Even Better Listener: It is very important to hear what the other person is saying, and it’s equally important to be clear when speaking to other people. Your point will only be heard when you make the other person feel like they are truly being listened to, so listen attentively.
  9. Don’t Talk About Work: If you are working with family and friends, learn to separate your work life from your home life. Your relationships will be better for it, especially if you work with a spouse.
  10. Think About Culture: If you’re starting a business with family and friends, create a shared vision. With that in mind, you may have to be more exclusive when selecting your business partners than you originally intended.
  1. Don’t Blame Others: Take responsibility for your choices and actions. You have a responsibility to make decisions and live with them. Be accountable, and never point fingers. And above all, find better ways to learn from your experience.

Angela Civitella is a business leadership coach and founder of Intinde. Her long track record in business includes success as an accomplished real estate executive, leadership coach, writer, mentor and regularly sourced media expert.

With more than 20 years as an executive, Civitella successfully transitioned from middle manager to C-level executive. She took a multi-million dollar a year real estate business and made it thrive, actively managing it on the way to becoming a $60 million international real estate firm.

Angela has mastered and proven her skills as a business negotiator, strategist, and problem solver. She is grateful to the myriad of business leaders and entrepreneurs worldwide who helped her hone these skills, and the many business opportunities where she put them into practice and mastered them.

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