Choosing the right business partner can be a difficult decision. Choosing a friend as a business partner seems natural, but will this option reduce the risks? What role does friendship play in a life-long business partnership?

Paul Allen and Bill Gates

What are the general and crucial traits of a good friend? Some may disagree, but the common threads found in any friendship are loyalty, trust, shared values, respect, honesty and effective communication. One could say that, when it comes to selecting a business partner that these are traits one would want to see between two business partners.

You might not know initially if these qualities are present in someone you chose as a business partner; but if you are considering a friend as a possible option, you will know it should indeed be easier to find out if these core qualities are there or not.
Childhood friends, Bill Gates and Paul Allen (Founders of Microsoft Corporation) or Steve Jobs and SteveWozniak (Founders of Apple Computers) are just one of many examples of the role friendship plays in life-long business partnerships. Their shared passion for computers and their joint commitment to entrepreneurship were binding values.
Life-long business partnerships with a friend might still be challenging at times, but if you take into consideration what is needed to make any business relationship work, having a foundation of friendship could work in your favour. What role could friendship play in ensuring a life-long business partnership?

           1.      The presence of honesty

Without honest communication and transparency, any business relationship will fail (or be difficult to maintain). Having a friend as a business partner reduces, for example, the possibility of issues being shoved under the rug or someone feeling excluded – a friend will tell it like it is.

           2.      Loyalty from start 

When you are starting a new business with someone, there is often a fear of your idea “getting out” and someone else beating you to it. The existence of loyalty between business partners is vital right from the start and this might be difficult to gage with someone you meet for the first time.

            3.      A common passion

Not all friends have the same passions but if you are starting a business with a friend, the common passion you share for the business you are creating will be one of the most valuable aspects of your business relationship. Being passionate about something, and sharing the feeling is the perfect soil for common goals towards innovation and productivity.

No matter whom you choose, a business partnership has associated risk and it’s always important to think it through carefully. However, friendship can be an important advantage in life-long business partnerships.

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Geofrey Mtatiro

I'm a storyteller by trade but a problem-solver by birth. I find creative ways to tell stories of Individuals, Brands, Businesses & Organizations through Photography, Film Production & Advertising. In 2012, I founded BRAINBONGO to do just that while still in high school with the help of a few friends. Through the years, we have become really good at it. We love it and we live it. We are #EXTRAORDINARY!

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