I had a law partner for 3 months. She and I were not friends before we partnered, actually, but we became fast friends once we decided to do business together. About a month later, she joined my law firm.
It was temporary, though. Within a couple months, we disagreed on how to build and manage the business.
We parted ways shortly after that. It seemed amicable at first… until it came to the money. Then it got a little ugly (although we worked it out pretty quickly).
Now she won’t speak to me. Needless to say, we are not friends now.
Even though I did not know her long, I felt hurt and betrayed by several of her actions. I felt also some loss and grief.
I can only imagine how much worse this would have been had we been friends for a while beforehand. I do not think that a friendship beforehand would have prevented the problems — we simply clashed over business strategy and who was responsible for making certain decisions.
So here’s the lesson: if you want to keep your friend after going into business together, you better have all the boundaries and duties worked out and in an agreement.
I’m going into business with my best friend. Do we really have to sign a big, long, complicated, legal partnership agreement?
Relationships need boundaries — especially ones that involve money.
You may be longtime friends but business is not the same as friendship.
The fastest way to kill your friendship is by going into a business partnership without clear boundaries and responsibilities.
No matter how close you are, you will have different ideas and different expectations from one another and the business.
Contracts are not about trust. You must trust someone to do business with them, whether you have a contract or not. Contracts are about defining expectations so that no one is disappointed.
They are essential in outlining the rights and responsibilities of every person or company with whom you do any business. A contract will make your business and relationships smoother.
Do you know where your legal land mines are? To find out, call us for a Business Risk Review at 800-449-8992 or email us at [email protected].
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