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Go Global trade mission to New York: Meet the missionaries

It's rare these days to find a company started by a sole-preneur, i.e. a single founder. With many companies starting out with a conversation based on 'how come no-one's ever thought of this?!', we've seen the rise of spouses, family members and friends going into business. How do you decide if it's the right move for you (and them)? Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones offers advice. 

Are you an Enterprise Nation member with a small business question you want to ask Emma? Email hello@enterprisenation.com and she might pick yours. If you're not a member, join today from only £3 a month.

Emma Jones SpeakingI've recently seen articles on the subject of co-founders in publications from Stylist to Courier. It seems to be the talk of the town and as it's a question I get asked a lot, I felt it deserved a reply.

If considering going into business with a friend, consider this:

Do you have complementary yet different skills?

This is the main question to ask yourselves. If one of you loves being front of house and going out to win work, whilst the other loves nothing more than staying back at base to do that work, then you’re on to a winner.

If you both want to play the same role in the company, tread with caution as you’ll quickly end up treading on each others toes.

Take a business partnership as seriously as you would take a marriage. 

You have to feel content that you'll be spending a lot of time with this business partner – and could handle a disagreement if one occurs. 

A highly successful business couple I met last week told me they have a third person they hire as an arbitrator so if they really can't agree on a business move, the third person steps in and they both have to agree to the final decision.

Whether friend or not, if you’re going into business with someone, be sure to have a shareholders agreement which sets out:

  • Who is responsible for doing what
  • Who owns what
  • What happens in the event of a fall-out
  • What happens if one of you decides to exit the business 

Having this documented from the start is a useful way to set expectations. It’s also a great way to run a successful business ‘and’ remain firm friends.

Emma Jones is founder of Enterprise Nation

Are you an Enterprise Nation member with a small business question you want to ask Emma? Email hello@enterprisenation.com and she might pick yours. If you're not a member, join today from only £3 a month.

Business Stages:
 
Growing a business

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