Question: If you've ever started up with a friend or family member, what is one thing you recommend someone do in advance to preserve that relationship if the business goes sour?
Get Your Legal Documents in Order
"It doesn't matter who you are starting a company with -- it could be your best friend, a family member or a complete stranger -- you should always have sound legal documents in place. Talk through the worst-case scenario and agree on how disputes will be resolved. Having this conversation when everyone is optimistic and excited will make it easier to keep your relationships intact."
Discuss Time Commitments
"Get clear on exactly the time, energy and financial commitments all parties are putting in. Future changes in those areas will impact your initial agreement. I've seen many cases where one co-founder starts spending the majority of their time on other projects. What will you do if this happens? What if one person needs to take on more outside work to support themselves?"
Stop Talking About Work
"It’s important to maintain your personal relationship, otherwise your business relationship could crowd it out. Do things together outside of work and don’t talk about the business. If your relationship outside of the company remains strong, you’ll be able to work through the tough times when it comes to work."
"Know what's expected of both parties upfront and if the business goes sour you have contracts to back everything up. Communication is key through thick and thin. If the business is going well, make sure everyone communicates it. If it's going down hill; the same. Express thoughts and feelings out loud so the other doesn't have to guess. It'll save any relationship."