These days, it seems like everyone has a bright idea. As any sane investor would tell you, it’s not just about the idea, it’s about the team behind it. So how do you go about building the right team? Well, the obvious people to turn to would be your friends. People you already know and trust.
It’s no surprise that some of the biggest names today, such as Facebook and Apple, were all started by two pals. The thing is, those pals never found their happily ever after together. Everybody knows Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, but does anybody care about Steve Wozniak and Eduardo Saverin?
As always, I can only share my own experiences. I can’t speak for everyone, but I have founded ventures with both friends and acquaintances alike. I personally believe starting a business is like raising a child. It’s much easier raising a child with your wife, a woman you’ve spent forever with, than to do so with a complete stranger. A venture, just like a child, will inevitably cause disputes, arguments, and disagreements. Understanding each other’s personalities and temperaments will help you jump those hurdles. When you start a business with an acquaintance, you expose yourself to the risk of discovering things you may or may not like about them. What do you do when you’re onto a great business idea but realize you don’t want to spend another minute with your partner?
If you find yourself in a situation where you must start a business with an acquaintance (which definitely happens, it’s a complicated world), do make the effort to befriend them early on in the venture. Don’t be too focused on the business side and neglect the emotional side of entrepreneurship. Get to know your partner well, not just as a business associate, but also as a friend. After all, they’ll be there with you for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.
Although friends are great partners to start with, there’s no guarantee how things could end up. Just like in marriage, when you decide to take your relationship to the next level, you have to be ready to accept the cruel sundering of a potential divorce. It takes an ongoing effort, just as in all relationships, to maintain a healthy partnership. We all inherently know how to sustain human relationships outside the office, you just need to apply them with your co-founders.