If you want to start a business with a friend, you’re not alone. After all, some of the most famous businesses in the world were co-founded by friends: Ben & Jerry, Airbnb, and Thrillist, just to name a few.
In the military spouse world, it may seem natural to start a business with a friend. After all, we know that the secret of thriving in military life is working together. When it comes to maintaining sanity during deployment, PCS moves, or just the general craziness, no milspouse is an island.
However, does this hold true for military spouses who go into business together? After all, for every Ben & Jerry, there’s a Lennon & McCartney or a Tory & Chris Burch.
Determine what’s best for your business (and your friendships!) by discerning the pros and cons of co-founding a new enterprise together.
Want to Start a Business With Your Bestie? Here Are the Pros
Your Strong Points Complement Each Other
You’re Type A, check-the-box, no-detail-left-behind. She’s a big-picture thinker who sees the forest where you see the trees.
Or maybe you’re more reserved, but you notice everything and have a great intuition, whereas he’s more outgoing and easily establishes rapport with people.
In the words of a 2016 Entrepreneur piece, “Recognizing your strengths makes it easy to define your roles in the partnership, and that definition makes it easier to hold one another accountable as the business grows.”
You Learn Humility
This one goes hand-in-hand with the previous benefit. This one may not seem like it belongs on the list of “pros,” but hang on a second.
Now, confidence and high self-esteem are great – even essential! On the other hand, nobody likes a know-it-all. However, your true strength as a leader and as a friend come from knowing what you’re good at while encouraging your friend to thrive.
In the words of C.S. Lewis, “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Knowing when to let your friend be herself as she does what she does best is how your business – and your friendship – are really going to level up.
You’re Working With Someone You Trust
At least, ideally.
Whether you’re thinking of approaching your friend about starting a business, or your friend has approached you, you need to take a good, honest look at your relationship.
Assess how well you know each other, what you know your shared values to be, and what you know about your friend’s honest and integrity. Of course, nothing is foolproof, but if you ignore red flags in the beginning, you are likely to pray the price later on – sometimes literally.
But if your business partner is a friend you know and trust, there can be real benefits. Open, honest communication is integral to a successful business as well as a successful friendship.
The Potential Cons of Starting a Business With Your Friend
Talking About Money Can Be Awkward
If you’ve ever forgotten to pay your friend back or they’ve had to remind you to Venmo them, you know how uncomfortable it can be.
Now, multiply that times hundreds (or thousands). Yeah.
It’s no secret, money can be a big problem in any relationship. When it comes to talking openly about money, if you and your potential business partner aren’t “there” yet as friends, you might not be ready to start a business together.
Things Can Get Emotional
Military life is dramatic enough. Add to that the stressors that will inevitably pop up with starting a business – there’s going to be some drama, even if it’s only low-key. That doesn’t have to be a problem, though.
The strongest friendships can weather minor irritations to heated disagreements. What matters is that you know you can discuss differences frankly and respectfully, and still enjoy a glass of wine together later!
Co-Founding a Business With a Friend Can Be a Great Idea If There’s Trust
If you and your bestie share enthusiasm and a vision, the potential for a legendary start-up is there. However, all the important ingredients need to be present. That means you need self-knowledge; an honest assessment of your friendship and communication; the ability to disagree respectfully; and above all: trust.
With those qualities in place, you and your friend are ready to jump into an exciting adventure together!