We are happy we are rebels because mixing business and friendship has been key to our success and enjoyment in our studio.
Geek Design was born almost 3 years ago when 3 friends decided to combine their talents and goals together, and started a graphic design firm.
Has it been easy? Nope. Or at least, not all the time. Working with friends is something that comes with its own unique set of challenges and difficulties. Yet combining the two could be one of the best moves you can do for your startup. Here are 3 of our suggestions in case you are also thinking of starting up a business with some of your friends:
- Define each other’s roles and involvement – For us, it was easier and possible to create a partnership. This means we all contribute equally, earn equally and are equally accountable for EVERYTHING. We also assigned each member a very specific management department. There is someone entirely responsible for Creative Direction, someone in Business Operations and someone entirely responsible for Website Design. There shouldn’t be too many cooks in one kitchen. When it comes to very important decisions, you’ll need to negotiate. More on that later.
- Involve yourself in business with friends that share the same values and culture. Or at least work together to define your company’s values based on everyone’s values and culture. What are the most important values you and your friends share? What’s your company’s culture going to be? In our team, we already shared core values, but we had different goals as individuals, so we created a combined set of values and goals taking into consideration everyone’s ideas. Our core values are happiness, freedom, creativity and to contribute to our communities. Do you already know your values? Share them with your new team.
- Always keep it professional and have honest communication. Work is work and should be treated as such. Try not to get too emotional about work problems and remember there will always be a solution and that you have to make it work. Leaving your ego aside from your work communication is also important. Always be polite and be patient with everyone. Negotiate like a pro even with your partners, this can be used later as learning on how to negotiate together, create strategies and bring in more business. Work vibes can get tense but don’t take it personally and if you need a break just take it. At the end of the day when the work is done, you will be happy you stayed focused, you got stuff done and you treated everyone the best you could.