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Is it good to start a business with a bf/gf?

blaircooper

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My partner and I have been together for almost three years now. We both wanted to get married someday but our funds are not yet sufficient to make this happen. Right now, we're planning to start a new business together. We have everything ready but some of my family members are discouraging me to do it.

According to them, it's a risk if I will pursue with the business partnership. What if we eventually break-up? Now, I'm having second thoughts because they are correct. What do you think?
 

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Dolf112

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Before I start I am not speaking from a place of experience but just wanted to add my 2 cents for what it's worth.

Actually getting married doesn't cost a great deal, having a big ceremony with "extras" is what costs, so I'd look deeper into that. To me that seems like a strange reason to start a business especially because your reason for doing so has a short time on it. Unless I have read into it too much and the reason for the business is to better your lives and not just to get married?

If it is a slow starter etc and doesn't make money straight away are you and your partner both strong enough mentally to stick with it?

I have had two businesses with family members and although one went smoother than the other, initially both didn't really pan out.

The couples I have seen that do well when working together usually have a deep understanding of each others strengths and weaknesses and won't berate the other for not getting something quite right.

On the point about if you break up, It happen but a business should remain separate to personal however it's not always possible for some to make that distinction.

That is just my 2 cents and I'm sure you'll get some better answers but initially you need to be 100% before going in, you cannot afford to let some people saying what ifs to put you off because I guarantee you'll face tougher things then that if you have a business.
 

PureDirect

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I used to do consulting for a small US biotech company. The company was founded by a French PhD and a US bachelors student when they were good friends, but it only went downhill from there.

Even though they were equal partners, the PhD guy always belittled his cofounder in everything because after all, the other guy only has a BSc, so they must be stupid right (at the same time, PhD guy convinced BSc that getting a PhD is not worth it)?

PhD guy thinks he knows everything (he has a PhD after all!!), but he has the business acumen of an unplugged toaster. For example, his adwords campaigns has people looking for specific products land on the overview page that contains all products (instead of the page for that specific product or *gasp* a landing page).

The power struggle became worse over the years, as PhD's father pumped $500k+ into the company to keep it from failing. Now BSc guy has even less to say, because PhD's daddy paid the bills.

It wouldn't be all that bad, except of course that the companies product is nowhere near as profitable as PhD initially expected and their competition is using a cheaper (and less sophisticated) manufacturing process. In short, their customers don't care about the specific advantages this company's product delivers. These advantages don't matter to what the customers do with the product.

So now BSc guy wants out, but he can't, because he has bills to pay and because of the penny-pinching salary both cofounders agreed to pay themselves he can't save any money. The company also owes him a sizable amount (like 6 figures), but since they're not liquid they can't pay.

These guys were yelling at each other every day. Sometimes there were fist fights (I kid you not).

BSc guy had several nervous breakdowns, which I helped him through over the phone. He wanted out. Badly.

This all happened in or before 2015. I quit working for them back then.

BSc guy is still working there today (according to LinkedIn). Maybe things have changed, but I doubt it.

My conclusions were:

  • Don't go into business with someone that doesn't respect you.
  • Don't go into business with someone on equal terms if that person doesn't put in as much effort as you.
  • Don't go into business with someone if doing so limits your future options financially or career-wise (if you want to pursue a career as an employee or at least want to have that option open to you).
On the bright side, going into business with someone is pretty much like getting married. So maybe it's like two birds with one stone: make money and see if a marriage works out?
 

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Inevitably, there will be times when a hard decision has to be made, and you could be at a stalemate because you disagree on the direction. There must be a lead decision maker in a business. Perhaps your relationship is strong enough and you are a good business team, you either know that or will learn that in time.

I have an employee in my day job, who was a general contractor with his wife. They had a great business together, made a lot of money. It didn't work out between them, his wife ended up with the business and she continued to grow it much bigger than when they were married. He ended up coming to work for the City as a Carpenter.

My old job was with a family construction business. They all fought like cats and dogs, the business frustrations and disagreements on direction made family members despise each other. Very disrespectful relationships because of it, they were all sick of each other from the business.

If you're hell bent on doing it, write down some agreements ahead of time, agree that if the business starts to destroy your relationship, you will separate them. Have a real talk about what if's. See if you and her can peacefully do this. If not, you'll have your indication.

Think of your minds like 2 trees. Right now, they are planted side by side, small and similar. As the trees grow and age, will they stay in unison? Or will they grow at different rates, have different needs. Will one outgrow the other and become resentful? Will one be in the other's way?

Good luck.
 

minivanman

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You have a few choices to make before getting married.

1) Are you getting married for JUST love? If this is the case then you do not need a marriage license. I have yet to find someone that will show me in the Bible where it says to stop by the court house, give them money and get a license before getting married. For LOVE you just go to your preacher or who ever you both choose and they marry you.

2) You are getting married for money and to combine your finances so you go by the court house, pay them money and then you might as well just go to a JP and have the JP marry you real quick and get it over with so you can hurry and let the IRS know you got married.

3) You are truly in LOVE yet you do want to combine your finances legally and let the IRS/government control what happens between both of your joint finances. By doing this you must understand that you are NOT just getting married for LOVE so don't get pissed off later if you decide to PAY MORE MONEY to get a divorce and now you must give up 1/2 your stuff because YOU (or her) chose to do it this way.

3b) By doing #2 & #3 you automatically involve your spouse in your business. Split up = bad times for the business..... usually.

3c) By doing #1 you can both live happily in LOVE yet you can keep financial things separate and if you ever do split up, you don't have to give her 1/2 your socket set and she doesn't have to give you 1/2 her make-up. And the best part.... if you do start a business, it is all YOURS or if she starts a business too, she has 100% control of her business.

As for partners in business.... look at the bottom of the ocean and there are millions of sunken partnerSHIPS. My best friend has been my business partner since 1989. We both have our main streams of income that are private so we have money to 'play' with after that. It has worked perfect because we never blame each other for anything, if something didn't work out, we forget about it by the next morning. That's because our partnership businesses do not feed us! We do have other partners in some businesses. And I have several real little businesses that I partner with on my own. As for those businesses, they can get a little hairy but not because of me trying to tell them how to run the business. Some will try to rip me off money, some will tell me to stay out of it because I don't know how to run THEIR business.... all kinds of things. I give advice 1 time..... if they don't want to do it my way, that's fine, I just stay silent. Most times they keep asking me what to do and then get mad because they want instant results and it usually doesn't work instantly. Or sometimes my ways don't work either and then they get mad. The reason they are getting mad is because they are trying to put food on their table with this money. I see why they might have frustration and that is why it's best for atleast you, if a partnership does not put food on your table.

But if I had to advise someone on having a partner or not, I'd say NO. Or if you do have a partner, the business you are in together shouldn't be your bread and butter business. Have your main stream of income and then have a side business (even if it makes more than your main income stream). But, people get caught up in the moment..... we are all human.....
 

sparechange

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rule #1 of all businesses is never ever work with friends or family

once someone starts slacking or taking mini vacations is when you damage relationships

only hire people, no friends in business
 

minivanman

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rule #1 of all businesses is never ever work with friends or family

once someone starts slacking or taking mini vacations is when you damage relationships

only hire people, no friends in business
I've fired everyone in my family that has worked for me but some how we have a good Thanksgiving. lol That can't be said for most families.
 

sparechange

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I've fired everyone in my family that has worked for me but some how we have a good Thanksgiving. lol That can't be said for most families.
''We dont fire people, we.....let them go''

Old boss said that :D
 

superb

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I have seen more partnerships go sour (that's putting it very nicely...) than I have turn out well. It can happen, it's just not common.

It's one thing to partner with someone who you are not romantically involved, but do you want to risk ruining a romantic relationship because of differing business views or a business failure?

It's easy to think that your love is stronger that the challenges you will face in business. At best it may be strong enough to survive, but that doesn't mean that there won't be hurt feelings and/or loss of intimacy that could last for extended periods of time. At worst... I'll leave that to your imagination.

My wife and I love each other deeply, but we both realize that being business partners would be bad for us. We offer each other help out of our different areas of expertise, but we remain autonomous with what we do in our individual businesses.
 

Paul David

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I'll make this short and sweet. No it's not a good idea.

Avoid at all costs.
 

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TreyAllDay

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I have no experience with starting a business with a significant other, but I don't see a problem with it as long as you're expecting to get married one day. If you're unsure about that - but are still talking about marriage, maybe you have other problems lol.
 

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