8 Friends You Shouldn’t Go Into Business With
There is a romanticized movie-like definition of what we imagine “going into business together with your friends” should look like. We sometimes picture working overnighters with pizza and coffee in a warehouse, a movie montage with a Drake song playing, video clips of our progress, and before we know it, we are in business suits! We’re walking into our New York City offices and planning meetings with Mark Cuban. Jumping on planes and landing for conferences in Fiji.
The truth is that although those events are possible, they are few and far between at first. Peddling to keep the momentum is essential in between major entrepreneurial accomplishments and even more important is the people we are in business with. Although we may be willing to keep motivation alive, keep our focus on God and keep our eyes set on our vision, it doesn’t mean our friend/partner will. Because of this, it’s important to recognize early on, who will be the friends that we can’t go into business with. This doesn’t mean that they are bad friends, or that we can’t be friends with them; it’s just that business is a different universe. A universe you choose not to go to with these friends…for both of your sakes.
1. Friends who try to run your life.
We all have one friend who “knows better than us”. They have it all figured out they hold nothing back, they keep it real, and in the long run we know it’s all about love, but in the business world it won’t fly. Investors have a say, consumers have a say, focus groups matter, there is no time for a friend who “knows better” even if it is in good intentions. Keep this friend as a wise counsel, a person to rely on outside of your business life and to give you perspective on the real world. You will be grateful to have them there for balance and rhythm in your whole life as opposed to an integral part of your business life.
2. The friend who is never on time.
Integrity is in large part how your colleagues, investors and advisors perceive you. Which means if you show up late to ONE meeting, your integrity and believability has just flown out the window along with every other Christian and millennial. If you know this is a struggle for your friend, keep from making them an integral part of your meeting life or your routine in business until they can overcome this character flaw. Help them through it and help them see the significance. Helping people with things like this is a large part of being an influencer, however do not compromise your dreams for someone else’s character.
3. The friend who has no skills.
If you are starting a tech company, you obviously won’t hire a car salesman just because he is your friend. I feel like that is a useless thing to write about but for some reason I see that a lot. Specifically within my faith based community. I understand the need to lift people up, however ““With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.” Mark 4:24.
This means if you have a gift, steward that gift and you will be given the chance to use it. Only if you steward it properly. Then once you properly train and manage your giftings more will be given to you. It’s not doing anyone a service to give a friend of yours who doesn’t have the right skill set a role that they cannot handle.
It’s actually a disservice to them. Since you’re stopping them from stepping into the gifts they are really meant to discover.
4. The friend who doesn’t take your advice.
If someone won’t listen to you’re advice as a friend, they definitely won’t listen to your advice when money is on the line. Simple.
5. The friend who wants to be famous.
Although we all get a kick of the fabulous friend who’s natural persona is a crowd pleaser and who’s character tends to make everyone gravitate towards them; this is not good for business. Unless your business is the music industry or acting, the C.E.O of the company holds weight the way a Pastor of a Church holds weight. Every word that they say will represent the brand. If their charisma is not ready for the scrutiny, or you are not ready to live in their shadow, the company will grow and fall by their words.
This is not an absolute, there are many outspoken C.E.O’s like Jay-z and Mark Cuban, however you have to decide that this person will be the face of the company and will be held accountable for their actions.
6. The friend who doesn’t understand hard work.
We of course have a friend who wants in on every business you start, or wants to start their own but can’t seem to do it. We feel bad, we genuinely do. We extend our hands to help, we aren’t condescendingly turning them down, we meet with them for prayer and lunch meetings, we bring them in on some projects. It doesn’t seem to click.
Most of the time the order isn’t there. The grasping that “hard work equals a better life” concept doesn’t stick in their heads. There is a thought that the world owes them something, that for some reason they aren’t getting what they deserve because of some great injustice in society. But it’s not their fault. It’s not about their decisions.
This friend is better left to your advice, lunch meetings, prayer and their own devices. As hard as you try to bring them into projects, their own ideas of failure not being their fault will be their downfall, however, with your prayer and advice, that might change. Sure, it’s not like we have it all figured out, and it did take me forever to get going (im still not where I want to be) but at least I’m on my way. It’s all about a mindset. As soon as you see that change in them, you bring them on board.
7. The friend who thinks you owe them something.
This is our friend from years ago. As soon as something starts making progress in our lives we see this buddy start to ask if they can hop on the bandwagon. We’re tempted to go with that Drake song from earlier and start rapping “NO NEW FRIENDS!” and tell them to come along for the ride since they’ve been there “since day one”. However, this friend has no real experience, work ethic, or even any clue what your industry is about.
I don’t want to be heartless, but this friend is best left as your promoter, your “man on the street” spreading the word about your business. They of course will want a cool title or something so you can give that to them but thats about all you can really afford to give them. Since, well you’re probably a start up. All they really want is to be a part of the movement!
8. The friend who doesn’t pray.
This might be subjective for some. But character comes and goes, people change but the Lord stays the same forever. So if you and your business parter can somehow build a connection through God, it’s a good way of reminding yourselves down the line of what’s really important. Keeping your priorities in check and an understanding of why you started all of this in the first place. Not to mention the feel you get when you pray before a meeting and God does something awesome in it!
The point is that business is a long term relationship and we should look at it that way. When we jump into it without knowing the severity of the roles we play, we can seriously damage everything around us, just like a real relationship. Chose carefully who you decide to join forces with and set the guidelines up front. Don’t be scared to be open and be transparent. Just like a real relationship, honesty is the best policy. A contract is like marriage and money is like sex. Do everything right and your kid (business) won’t end up homeless or in jail. Too much? I don’t think so.