Essence Magazine has always been a long time favorite go-to guide for all things black inspired. I appreciate the noticeable effort to embrace women who reflect my character more than some other popular publications. In one of their latest issues, with the very gifted Misty Copeland gracing the cover, I came across an interesting article about starting a business with your best friend.
There has always been the unspoken rule “Don’t do business with family.” It’s assumed to be messy, emotional and may result in failure. Still, there are inspiring success stories that can instil hope in the “besties with a million dollar idea.” Essence Mag showcased a few success stories of best friends in business including:
- Ginger Johnson and Liz Pickett are co founders of Ginger + Liz Colour Collection, a vegan nail lacquer that has been distributed in over 1000 locations worldwide. They have experienced great success with sales tripling since launching in 2010.
- Renee Warren and friend Kristen Hill are co-presidents of Noelle-Elaine Media Inc. a 20 year old media company specializing in event management and show production. Their list of clients include BET, CNBC and the National Urban League. Yukia Walker and Yunesia Harris are the sisters who launched Curvaceous Couture, a plus sized bridal boutique, in 2008. They have serviced over 6500 brides and star in their reality show TLC’s Curvy Brides.
These women offered valuable advice for people looking to share a business with a friend or loved one.
Get Everything In Writing
For reasons like protecting interests and protecting the relationship between two business partners, getting everything in writing is a valuable piece of advice. So many times when family is involved, there’s an informality with normally serious contracts and long term agreements. When everything is in writing and done with either a lawyer or a third overseeing party, it can help start a strong foundation for a lasting business relationship.
Be Financially Prepared
With every successful business comes great financial planning. For friends Liz and GInger, they saved enough money for six months to support themselves on a personal level providing a clear mind to grow their business without financial pressure. This point of advice is most valuable if not most important in starting a business. It can remove the stress level for the parties involved and start a trend for effective financial planning.
Work Through the Hardship
The hardest part of owning a business is having to face the hardships that comes with it. The important thing to remember is that hardships are needed for growth within a business. It’s what happens during those trying moments that can define good business owners. When Renee and Kirsten shared their scary experience with the IRS and how they really needed to join forces to efficiently attack the issue, it showed how they overcame the experience. On the other side,they had learned more lessons and had gained more trust to keep building their business.
Starting a business with a friend or a loved one can be a little more nerve-racking than starting with an unrelated business partner but these pairs of women have successfully launched businesses in spite of their close relationships. It is very possible for businesses to strive through friendships and close relationships and it’s fair to say that these women have made it a little easier for me to believe the idea that these successful relationships are really possible.
Have you ever been in business with a friend? Have you ever considered it? What are some tips you would give to the people who want to go into business with a friend?