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Working with friends? Plan cautiously before you sign on the dotted line.

If you and your friends come up with an amazing business idea, you may think that it’s the perfect time to start working together. Before you do, take some time to consider how this situation could go wrong.

There is a difference between being friends, colleagues and business partners. There is a potential for hurt feelings – and even broken relationships – when you’re just trying to make good business decisions that your partner doesn’t agree with. There is a risk that one person won’t pull their weight or that another may feel like they are doing too much work for what they’re getting out of the arrangement.

Before you decide to work with your friends, think about if you can have a good business partnership together.

What makes a good business partnership?

A good business partnership is one where you and others can be critical of ideas and business plans without criticizing each other. It’s important that business partners all play a specific role in the business, too.

For example, if your friend is a talented marketing expert and you work in IT, then it would make sense for you to handle the technology-related aspects of the business and for them to take care of the advertising and branding issues. You could share other responsibilities, like meeting with investors or making purchases for the business.

Work on communication to make your partnership work

Good communication helps with any partnership. If you want to work well together, that may mean building a partnership where you have regular meetings and discussions over the direction of the business.

Let your attorney help with your business plan

Of course, a good business plan will also help you avoid trouble as your business grows and changes. Your attorney can help you set up business clauses and contracts that keep everyone who is part of the partnership in line and on the same page as to their roles and what is expected of them.

Building a business with friends is possible, but it doesn’t always work. A failed partnership could lead to your company’s downfall. Think carefully about your relationships before you decide whether working together is right for you. An experienced business attorney can help you set up a partnership agreement that protects both parties’ interests in the event that things go south.

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