How to Run a Successful Business with your Best Friend
You may have heard it said to "never live with your best friend, or you won't be friends after!" I think that is a true statement (at least it was for me once in college!) so when Ashley and I were thinking of starting Bloom, I was admittedly nervous. I didn't want to hate my best friend in a few short months! However, my mind was quickly changed. It is totally possible to own a business with your best friend, if you keep these tips in mind.
1. Have an established friendship first. This is your strong foundation. Ashley and I have known each other for years and knew we worked well together in other areas (for example, we once took a 14 hour road trip together. If you can survive that, you can survive anything! We have also had two flat tires together. I mean, seriously...was that preparing us for the stress of business or what?!) If we didn't have this established friendship, we wouldn't know each other's weird, quirky habits and would probably grow tired or irritated with one another.
2. Divide up tasks. There's a lot to be done when running a business, especially when it has so many moving parts, like a workshop that travels across the country. We are sure to divide up our tasks so we know what each of us are in charge of. For example, Ashley runs Instagram and I run Facebook. When it's time to communicate with sponsors for the workshops, Ashley takes one city's workshop and I take another, so we are sure we stay organized.
3. Communicate. Even if we didn't run a business together, we'd probably still talk on the phone once a day, but because of Bloom, we talk at least 2-3 times a day on the phone. That excludes the excessive texting we also do throughout the day ;) Since there are so many moving parts with our business, we just like to keep one another in the loop of people we've secured to speak, ideas we have to make future workshops better, celebrate over successes (like tickets being sold or giveaways doing well). Keeping each other in the know and making big decisions together is key. We are co-founders after all, so we need to act like it! Thankfully, this hasn't been a problem for us.
Part of communication is also honesty. This goes without saying, but you have to be completely open and honest about everything for a company to run smoothly and successfully.
4. Compromise. Sometimes Ashley has an idea that I haven't thought of and it wouldn't be my first choice to execute, but because we're in business together, I trust her and we go with it. The same is true in the other direction! And you know what? Most things we've come up with have worked really well and been positive for our business as a whole. Compromising, or finding a happy medium, is a way of demonstrating you trust the other person you're in business with, which is also key.
5. Seek sound advice and counsel. We don't have everything figured out, so it's important to be humble and ask for advice about the business side of things. On the flip side of this, it's important to not discuss your business with people who both of you don't know and trust. We refer to our significant others, our friend and graphic designer, and our lawyer.
6. Don't forget to just be friends. Remember, you're friends first and business partners second. Go to lunch, get your nails done, and chat about real life things together. If you have to, make a guideline for yourselves not to discuss business endeavors over lunch. Sometimes we just can't help it, because it can be so fun!
Do any of you run a business with your friends? If so, let us know if I missed anything in the comments. For those of you who want to go into business with your best friend, maybe consider if you think you two would make a good team, as well as considering if you could do these pointers well. Your teamwork directly effects the success of your business. I, for one, wouldn't want to be in business with anyone else!