Friends and business and why the two do not mix.

Like minded people, friends or family get great ideas and dreams and go into business together only to find out down the road that it does not work. It may seem like a good idea at the time. They set off with high expectations that are crushed! All the variables are considered except the most important one: working relationships.


Some factors that are overlooked are the working boundaries. Work is not left at work but overflows to the dinner table and therefore impacts the whole family or circle of friends. If there are stressful situations that atmosphere is brought home. If there are disagreements between you, they continue and it makes being civil outside of working hours difficult. It is forgotten that relationships actually should come first and losing a friend or a marriage breaking up over business just is not worth it.

Another factor is that family members or friends could take advantage of the situation. If you hire your nephew and he just is not playing team or putting in any effort. He may even be stealing from the company. Then it is time to cut him loose. This action then brings down the wrath of the entire family. Every action is like a domino effect. Family always comes first but in some situations business has to come first and abuse cannot be tolerated.

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On the other hand it can create problems in the work environment where co-workers feel there is nepotism or favouritism at play. You may not even be doing it consciously but every raise or promotion is questioned which just makes for an uncomfortable working environment. The reality is you do sometimes work better with those you trust but your every decision as a leader will be scrutinised. You have to ask yourself if it is really worth it.

As much as we say, “it is just business!”,it is never really just about business, arguments become personal or get taken personally and each participant in the argument becomes passionate and over steps the boundaries of the working relationship of mutual respect. This is also difficult for everyone else in the working environment and sets an example of how you will allow yourself to be treated.

So before entering into any kind of business with ‘framily’ ask yourself if it is worth it. Carefully consider all the above factors, weigh up the pros and cons, and set your firm boundaries. You may have to raise the bar and expect a higher standard from your friends/family than other workers and this may seem unfair but it will aid in silencing any perceived whispers of nepotism. Decide to not ever bring work home, discussions about work home or arguments about work home. Working with friends or family is not for everyone and maybe you can handle it or maybe you will learn by trial and error. It is just important to takes these things into consideration and not just blindly jump in with both feet.


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