Going into business with your best friend: Why it works

Here, Lisa Dodds discusses how starting a company with a friend can give you an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

I first met my best friend Marco Robinson was I was 18 years old and had just moved to Tenerife to start a new job. Our friendship blossomed and many years later we started working together in order to launch a vacation club start-up in Asia.

The launch was a huge success and we eventually went our own ways to seek out new challenges, but in 2016 we decided to embark on a new challenge together; launching our very own cosmetics brand, 4th Base Cosmetics.

Whilst for some people, the thought of starting a business with a friend is something they can’t comprehend, myself and Marco are in agreement that for us, it was one of the most sensible business decisions we’ve ever made. Disagreements in friendships are natural, and it’s by no means a different story for business relationships, however, I strongly believe that going into business with a friend has the potential to really make you stand out from the crowd. Below I share my points for this case.

Different character traits complement each other

Whilst it’s important to go into business with someone who has the same mind-set as you, I think it certainly makes things interesting if you have different personality traits. Whilst my role as CEO means that I’m managing the day-to-day running of the business, Marco’s business mind ensures that sensible decisions are made, budgets are kept to and targets are met. They say that opposites attract and in business two opposing personalities can balance each other out, and offer a much more rounded business.

Disagreements can have positive outcomes

One preconception of working in business alongside a best friend is that should you have disagreements; you will take it personally, because there is a deep-rooted relationship involved. However, the way I see it is that disagreements can actually have positive outcomes because the person you disagree with can help you to see things from a different perspective, which in turn can open your mind to alternative options for the business.

Spending too much time together is not an issue

If you share a business and a social life together I don’t think that spending too much time together is really an issue. If you need to make a big decision, sometimes it can help to consider everything when you’re in your most relaxed environment, and have time to reflect on the issue properly, ensuring you don’t make any rash decisions. So if discussing work over dinner with your wider friendship group is a way you can really chat things through, then you may as well exploit the extra time you have together. Let’s just say you’ll never run out of things to say to one another!

Sharing a passion will always impress

Whilst two strong-minded friends will have a difference of opinion on certain issues, it is important to remember the most important thing you do share in common is a passion for wanting the business to be a success. I think that when suppliers, investors and other external companies meet with two friends who are in business together, they will always be impressed by the passion and enthusiasm that they share.

Lisa Dodds is co-founder of 4th Base Cosmetics.

Further reading on setting up a business with a best friend

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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