Get All Access for $5/mo

3 Unparalleled Benefits of Starting a Business With Friends and Family Most say that mixing business and personal relationships is a recipe for disaster , but it can be a tremendous asset to starting a business. Here's why.

By Steven Li Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

nd3000 | Getty Images

A common interpretation of "work-life balance' is that working and enjoying your life should be mutually exclusive. That's why founders are often advised to avoid starting companies with friends and family — that business could turn those relationships awry.

Though it's true that burning bridges with those you love and respect is a risk that comes with starting a business together, friends and family bring value that no other partners can. And in that sense, they sometimes can be the best people to start companies with.

I spoke with a number of successful founders that made it work, and from their experiences, gathered three unparalleled benefits of starting companies with friends and family.

1. Trust is a given

When it comes to hiring and firing, delegating roles, growth strategy, and other important aspects of building a successful company, trust between co-founders is pivotal. Without it, unnecessary conflicts ensue, and they distract from what really matters.

To get a practical example of this idea, I chatted with Ben Lerer, the founder and CEO of Group Nine Media and Managing Partner at Lerer Hippeau Ventures. He told me: "I feel so fortunate to be able to work with my dad at Lerer Hippeau and my sister at Group Nine. Not only are they both incredibly smart and fun to be around, but there's nothing more important in a business partnership than trust and who can you trust more than family?"

Because Ben employs over 400 employees at Group Nine and works with over $120 million in capital at Lerer Hippeau, he can't do it all alone. He has to trust that those he works with are both willing and able to get the job done, and when he's working with family, that trust is a given.

Related: The Complete, 12-Step Guide to Starting a Business

2. It makes communication more efficient

When founders get into conflicts with one another, it's often due to some kind of misalignment of values or an outright misunderstanding. When you decide to work together with friends and family, at least some of these misunderstandings can be avoided altogether simply because you know one another on a much deeper level.

This was especially the case for Kara and Theo Goldin, the husband-wife pair that founded and grew Hint Water into a $90 million business. Kara told me: "We understand the commitment and we encourage each other to thrive. We both acknowledge that we are each better at certain things but together we make an effective team. That kind of trust allows for communication to flow more swiftly and accurately."

Related: Can You Build a Million-Dollar Business Starting With Just $100 on Fiverr?

When executive communication is seamless, it sets an excellent example from the top down. And especially in a company's earliest days, effective communication without drawn-out hurdles allows it to move much quicker.

3. Your values are closely aligned

One of the biggest time sinks, when there are multiple partners in a company, is having drastically different values. Of course, discussions around those values aren't a waste of time, but when co-founders share inherent values, it's a huge leg up.

Related: 8 Things You Need to Know Before Starting a Business

Justin Lafazan and Dylan Gambardella, friends and co-founders of Next Gen Summit, an online community of over 3,000 members and annual conference held for up and coming entrepreneurs, are an example of this idea. They told me: "A core value we share at Next Gen is to make relationships our #1 priority. We ensure everyone in our network — whether a community member, partner, or investor — feels valued at all times."

When co-founders agree on fundamental values for their company, that level of mutual understanding makes formulating strategy and company direction a far more straightforward and powerful process.

Steven Li is a software engineer and occasional technology blogger.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business Solutions

Increase Productivity with This Microsoft 365 Subscription, Now $25 Off

It can make the entrepreneur life a lot easier.

Business News

Apple Pay Later Is Ending. Here's What's Taking Its Place.

The program was available for less than a year.


This Artist Answered a Businessman's 'Powerful' Question — Then His Work Became 'the Poster Child for Juneteenth': 'Your Network Really Becomes Your Net Worth'

Reginald Adams was the executive director of a Houston-based art museum for more than a decade before he decided to launch his own public art and design firm.


Harvard Business School Professor Says 65% of Startups Fail for One Reason. Here's How to Avoid It.

Team alignment isn't nice to have -- it's critical for running a successful business.

Business News

Here's What Companies Are Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024

Since it became a holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has been recognized by some major corporations as a paid day off.

Growing a Business

I Hit $100 Million in Annual Revenue by Being More Transparent — Here Are the 3 Strategies That Helped Me Succeed

Three road-tested ways to be more transparent and build relationships that can transform your business — without leaving you feeling nightmarishly over-exposed.