Black Women's Business Blog

Business Partnership with Friends or Family – The Warning Guide

You and your bestie are exploring a business partnership – two black female entrepreneurs on a mission – what a thrilling journey! You’re excited and you love each other so much! What better way to make that coin than with your husband? You two are going to build a family legacy! You’ll build an empire together and create work days that are full of joy. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt and the day to day gets real. Here are some things to consider before you jump heart-first into a business relationship with friends or family.

Relationship Time. How will doing business every day impact your existing relationship? If your partner is your best friend or spouse, don’t allow the business relationship to take over.  Be intentional about keeping work time and play time separate and clear. Ensure that your business relationship doesn’t do permanent damage to the health of your friendship or marriage. Yes, you want to make that coin, but don’t sacrifice a love and family for business.

Relationship Health. Consider the current health of the relationship. Is it strong enough to go through a new and complex experience like running a business? Is there any level of unhealthy competitiveness in the relationship? Will you be able to work together with little care about who receives credit or accolades from customers and media? Consider these questions especially for sisters or best friends. Additionally, you must communicate effectively. Do you struggle with communication and problem solving? Is there any distrust or fear in the relationship already? A business partnership is in some ways like a marriage. Be prepared to manage relationship.

Accountability. In any business operation, you must hold people accountable to results and performance commitments. Will it be hard to call out, push, or challenge your partner because of pre-existing relationship? Be mindful of this dynamic in a relationship where one person is viewed as the authoritative figure. For example, a daughter might find it hard to challenge her father on a budget decision for the business because he’s been the “bread-winner” (budget manager) who has cared for her and managed finances in her household her entire life.

Check out my blog about screening your potential business partner. I offer great questions and tips for those consider going into business with family or friends. Invest in business coaching. It’s a great way to build solid systems and strategies for a great business relationship.


Makisha Boothe

Makisha is Head Business Coach and founder of Sistahbiz Global Network. She specializes in rapid improvement and innovation, and helps women with business startup and design.

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