I am challenging this mantra with everything inside of me!
RiseUp Bakeries is a business started by myself and my father. We work closely together on a daily basis doing presentations, discussing business models and opportunities, sharing frustrations and celebrating victories.
I also share office space with Christine Meintjes, who is not only a phenomenal photographer, brilliant business woman, but also my girlfriend. We are also continually thinking of new business ideas, starting ventures together (watch this space…) and discussing different strategies and solutions to problems.
At PlusPlusMinus I work together with Cindy de Bruyn who has been a close family friend for over 5 years. We code and laugh and get angry every day and eat loads of sushi together. Technically i’m also her boss.
I can continue to mention examples in my life where i have been involved with different business ventures with friends and family. I don’t however think that these examples are relevant without any theoretical backing to my stance of doing business with family and friends.
When looking for potential business partners, i would consider the following as required attributes to be established in the business relationship:
- Sharing a common vision or goal
- Not only looking to further own interest
- An open relationship
I place such a high priority on these “soft issues”, since i don’t consider business to be about money alone. I believe the money is a result of doing things right. Pursuing profit alone is an empty and endless endeavor not worth the effort.
Considering the above, i see no way how i can involve people in my business i don’t know and get along with very well. In fact, i don’t believe that anyone who is not family or friends can meet the above criteria.
I believe business is about the growth of people and solving problems. It’s about experiencing challenges to build your skills and character. And most of all, it is about relationships – business is a vehicle to strengthen and deepen relationships with everyone involved.
My mantra is then this, “If i can’t do business with family and friends, who can i do business with?”
There is one instance where i would strongly advise against doing business with family and friends – That is when either party is looking to further his own interest and is willing to do so at the expense of someone else. In that case, protect the relationship and rather get strangers to screw over!
**I realize there a loads of exceptions and my view might be very romantic, optimistic and naive. I am o.k. with that and i will hold this view until i have been proven wrong on all instances 🙂