Starting a business is a very exciting experience, but be careful not to lose your way. Here are some handy tips to make things go right. Finding the right partner to start a business is essential, and often the choice falls on someone we already know, a friend with whom we have shared many moments of our lives, with whom there is affinity and with whom, perhaps, we have already worked – at school, at university – to joint projects. Starting a new adventure with a friend can be a very stimulating experience for both of you, considering all the pros and cons. However, if you stick to simple rules, things could go well. Here, then, is a checklist to help you stay on course. For the good of the company and, above all, your friendship.
Clearly Define Their Respective Roles Right From The Start
Establishing roles and responsibilities is one of the key things to do when co-founding a company. You need to know how to use each specific skill and channel it in the best way, assigning each role based on what you are best suited for. The geek of the group will probably be the most suitable to fill the position of CTO (Chief Technology Officer); whoever created the prototype of your product will be perfect at the helm of the Research and Development department. In this way, everyone will be able to put their skills to good use without interfering with the work of others. Correct assignment of roles is even more decisive when it comes to the company’s top management.
If there are two co-founders, the optimal situation is in the possibility of dividing the two main offices, namely that of CEO ( Chief Executive Officer ) and CFO ( Chief Financial Officer ), especially if between the two co-founders there is already a strong relationship of trust and mutual respect, if not a real friendship. CEO and CFO should have complementary skills and personalities, also because often, the two roles have different perceptions by collaborators and employees. The CEO is generally the one who drives, stimulates, and motivates the staff to reach the goals and raise the bar of objectives from time to time, while the CFO can be the one who sometimes “slows down” based on his assessments of financial scenarios and risk factors. This does not mean that the two figures must respectively play the roles of the good and the bad police officer, but that by working in synergy, they can always find the right balance for the well-being and development of the company.
Put Everything In Black And White
It must always be written down when agreeing, even when it is stipulated between friends. Above all, when it is stipulated between friends. Founding a company together implies investing capital, making choices and sacrifices that are sometimes difficult, and taking on specific responsibilities. And all of these things can change a person’s behavior, especially in stressful conditions. A written agreement should not be seen as a lack of trust but as a form of mutual protection. It’s a bit of a bad metaphor, but let’s think about how many marriages are born joyfully and lovingly possible and end in divorces where everyone brings out the worst in themselves for the sheer sake of harming their ex-partner.
Unfortunately, the same thing can happen even with a business partnership. It’s off to a great start, but it will not necessarily stick together forever. A contract prevents things from going from bad to worse if the relationship does not last. Putting everything in writing is the basic rule of any business relationship. From the Business Plan to a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement, every document signed in black and white will prove essential to resolve any differences and disagreements as soon as they arise and before they become unmanageable. For better transparency and guaranteeing the right protection to each party, it is always advisable to contact a third party, super parties. In fact, who can, if necessary, act as a mediator in an objective and neutral way, such as a labor consultant? , a lawyer or a notary.
Plan An Exit Strategy
Some argue that thinking of a Plan B indicates mistrust, lack of conviction, or that it simply … brings bad luck. Nothing is wrong. Thinking about a contingency plan – or contingency, if it sounds less alarmist – is the best way to secure your friendship or, at the very least, to end the relationship civilly in case things get really bad. Your exit strategy should define in detail what would happen to corporate assets, what percentage each shareholder would be entitled to in the event of a separation or dissolution of the business, how they would deal with customers, etc.
Is the company definitively liquidated? Or would it be kept by one of the two co-founders? What if, instead, it was sold or merged by another investor? How should we deal with intellectual property, patents, names, and trademarks filed and registered? You must anticipate an answer to these and other questions. Also, in this case, it may be helpful to contact an external consultancy, which could be provided by the bank to which the company refers or by a company specializing in Corporate Crisis Resolution Consultancy.
Work With Passion And Enjoy The Adventure
If starting a new business is already a thrilling experience, doing it with your best friend will be even more so. You will find yourself facing ups and downs, celebrating your achievements together and supporting each other in times of difficulty. Will it be an experience that will last forever? Probably not. But if you manage not to lose the initial enthusiasm, to work with passion, have fun and enjoy every moment of your journey together, who knows… you may have found the right path and continue for a long, long time.