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  Date : 04/03/2016  Platform/Online Media: TimesJob Source

Do friends make great business partners?

An emotional maturity is pertinent to keep both personal bonding and business relationship separate
S Venkat

Business with friends is like a double-edged sword. Even though they can be the best partners to do business with, given the comfort we share with them, it comes at a cost. Managing business with friends as partners needs a fine balancing act between professional and personal aspects of the relationship

Running a business with a friend is like two batsmen who are so comfortable with each other who can run a quick single without calling for a run, just by looking at each others’ body language. This level of understanding is a great strength to start with in a business. But business break-ups can have a long lasting effect. And when it is among close friends, it can catapult to other facets of life as well. Several other friendships may fall apart if a business done with a partner does not become a success, causing double trouble for the partners. The best way to deal with this situation is to discuss possible adverse situations upfront and agree on who will do what and what each others’ reactions will be if the business fails.

In practical scenarios it may be difficult to separate emotional and business aspects, but one is not left with much choice than to take a decision and make peace with the situation. Staying in close touch with reality and taking care not to take each other for granted paves a healthy way for the future.

Partnering with family members or siblings can lead to even more complications. But in terms of emotional connection, these are the people who provide brilliant platform for a partnership.

A lot of people partner with friends due to lack of apt partners. They are often driven by peer pressure too. They may not be extremely confident about the partnership yet they go ahead with it, feeling obligated towards the relationship. This can prove fatal for the business. Goal of the partnership is to derive collective strengths and not overpower each other. Partners need to invest time, effort and capital to establish and run the business, which is completely different from the time spent in nurturing friendships.

Difference in ideologies of both partners is inevitable, but the common vision of company’s success must remain unfettered. If you encounter a conflict in aspiration and vision for the business then it is better to not partner at all. That said, some differences may leave a deep scar. Quick separation from such situations is necessary. Put the experience behind and get focused on the future plan.

An emotional maturity is pertinent to keep both personal bonding and business relationship separate. Potential benefits exceed perceived risks if friends are mature and on the same page.

So, is there a golden rule by which the right decisions can be taken in business? Yes. Just follow the adage: “What is good for the business is good for the partners”. Do the right thing by the business — the professional and personal relationships between partners will usually sort itself out.