We have discussed before the importance of an entrepreneur to put the best team around him. A team can help speed up the startup process, compliment your skills, and help take the pressure off of you. But how do you find the right members to make up your team? One of the easiest sources of manpower can be found among your friends but entrepreneurs should be cautious when teaming up with friends.
Friends can be a great resource to help you run your small business. You already have an established relationship and trust in their abilities. You also know that they have you and your business’ best interests in mind as they work for you or with you. This creates a perfect candidate to join your team but sometimes these are the same reasons we can overlook obvious flaws.
If you were hire someone that you had no previous relationship with, you would do a lot of due diligence. First and foremost would be ensuring this candidate has the qualifications and skills needed to work with you. There is a reason why people get degrees and work for years to be considered “qualified” for a position. When it comes to friends, we can sometimes overlook the missing experience because we want to see the best in them.
Another issue that can creep up is that often times our friends are clones of us. They have similar personalities and see the world in a similar way to ourselves. While this is great for getting along with one another, it’s not the best for business. Team members should be able to look at things from a different angle than you. This allows them to fit in with people you might not and to give you a different perspective on a problem.
The biggest problem with friends working for you is when you realize that it’s not working out. There are deep emotions that get stirred up and can cause deep rifts in the friendship if not end it all together. If these friends have an ownership interest in your West Michigan small business, the dispute that arises can be long and drawn out because of the emotions that become involved.
It is important to vet your friends the same way you would a traditional candidate for that position. This is in addition to making sure that proper documentation is in play to ensure that everyone is on the same page for how the relationship will work. These documents can also describe the process if there is a dispute. This will save time and money but more importantly it might just save a friendship.