The “Godfather Principle” on Business Partnerships

Posted on January 21, 2014 in Business Partners, Planning & Advisors

Whether it’s Sun Tzu or The Godfather, the admonition to “keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” certainly applies to business partnerships, as Ryan Roberts pointed out in his StartUp Lawyer blog.  In fact, you might want to keep your friends e-v-e-n closer when you choose to go into business with them.

When you have a close relationship, it’s easy to lapse into assumptions because you know each other well.  You assume that Jane will want to go out for Thai over Chinese food; you assume that Jon will prefer to watch the ball game at Phil’s Bar over Bach at the Philharmonic.

Those assumptions can land you in deep trouble, though, when it comes to business.  Unless you’ve started a company with this particular friend before, the fact is that you don’t really know them.  You know them as a friend, not a as a business partner . . . and people can react very differently depending on the role they play in your life.

When it comes to friends in business, take a page from The Odd Couple:  “When you assume, you make an ass of you and me [ass-u-me].”

See the discussion points that Ryan lists in his blogpost for a place to begin the conversations you need to have.


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