“A friend is someone you share a path with” – African Proverb.

The same can be said in business, especially in the African context – a friend is someone you share a business with. In the magazine, some companies we have featured  have all been started by a group of friends who shared passion. Unfortunately, a lot of start-ups with potential lost their way because of the wrong blend of people. It is based on the misconception that if a business has a really good product or service, then everything else will fall in line. Picking the people you work with could determine whether your business is successful or not. After all these people become your family; whether you like it or not.

Have a Shared Vision

Having a shared passion is not enough. So many a time, people don’t discuss what the ultimate plan is which will inevitably lead to conflict later on. Having a shared vision for the company, for the business means there is always a blueprint to refer to in case things start to go off path. Communicating the plan, and sharing the plan are two different things. It is more important to have people who are completely committed to the plan and not simply ‘in the know.’ This would be even more important when you are starting a business 50-50 with a partner, or a group of people who have an equal stake in the business. 
Facebook, is an example of a company which was created by a group of people who eventually ended up in court fighting for control. Learn from their experiences.

Complement Each other
Working with someone like you can be extremely rewarding because you understand how the other functions and what they expect from you. However, it is also particularly important to work with people who are going to challenge you to be better and to bridge the gap in areas you have no knowledge about. The classic example would be a simple clinic, a doctor cannot run or manage the clinic as he is not trained in this area. In fact, having someone who is trained in management would make for tremendously successful results. Pick partners who are different but not too different that it could lead to conflict.

People with Back Bone
Personally, this would be the most important factor when choosing who to work with. You need to surround yourself with people with integrity, people who would stop you from transacting that dirty deal, people who would say “no” to taking short cuts only to lose out later. Additionally in business, specifically in start-ups more often than not you fail before you succeed. You need people who will be able to handle it and stick around despite the challenges that the business is facing. This comes from having a deep passion for the product but not too deep that it would bring their integrity into question.

Photo Credits: Google Images

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