Getting into Business with Your Friends

  • Our Co-Founder, Paddy Tan along with Co-Founders of Outside TechnologiesTan Tu Jin and Nicholas Lim, were invited to MoneyFM 89.3 to have a radio interview session on “Getting into business with your friends”
  • The advantages and detriments of doing business with friends were discussed, and further guidance on how to maintain a good work and personal relationship were given

June 30, 2019: Paddy Tan, co-founder of BlackStorm Consulting was privileged to be invited to be one of the interviewees for an interview session on “Getting into business with your friends” on MoneyFM 89.3 during the Breakfast Huddle with Timothy Go and Finance Presenter, Ryan Huang. It was held on June 30, 2019. Together with Paddy, Tan Tu Jin and Nicholas Lim, Co-Founders of Outside Technologies discussed the sensitiveness of navigating through both the business and personal relationships simultaneously.

Delving further into the details of the interview, here are some of the interesting questions that were being discussed.

Q: Are you for or against having business with friends?

All interviewees are for having business with friends and highlighted that there are many pros in doing business with friends. Paddy shared that working with friends “fast pace the entire courtship since you already know each other”, expediting the whole business process. Tu Jin and Nicholas looked at it from another angle, focusing on the ability to “make use of the untapped labour market of the 23 to 24-year olds” who are fresh out of studies and are brimming with energy.

Q: What are the lessons you have learnt in starting a business with a friend?

From his vast experience, Paddy highlighted that “as your business grows, your relationship will grow, and you have different want or need.” Most owners will choose not to pay themselves first when they start a business and burn their savings instead. Therefore, when the different needs come in and they need money, they find themselves in a difficult position.

Another significant learning point that Paddy recognised was that it is fine to walk away from business temporarily for personal duties. “You may need some time for your family or have personal duties.” It is okay to walk away and revisit the collaboration together next time when both parties are ready. This is to prevent a strain in the friendship.

Q: What happened when you come back? How would your friend feel?

Paddy emphasised that being away does not mean being completely out of touch. There should be clarity between friends on what is happening and give some time for the other party to settle the personal responsibilities. Friends and business partners should be considerate to take up the other stuff to let your partner have a break while keeping the other party updated on what is happening. When they are back, provide them with more details to bring them up to speed.

Q: Never implement corporate rules in business with a friend. What are your views?

Tu Jin and Nicholas feel that there is still a need for corporate rules to run the business professionally. One such rule that they abide by would be: when there is a new skill to learn, at least two Co-Founders need to learn it. This is to ensure that there is at least one party with the ability to cover one another in the case that one of them is not available.

To end off the whole session, Tu Jin and Nicholas shared the importance of finding a good balance between practicality and being visionary when working with his friends. In Outside Technologies, they are the only two co-founders who work full time. The rest of the team have school or other personal commitments that they are managing concurrently. Therefore, the co-founders need to find a middle ground so that everyone can cope with both responsibilities and the business can grow substantially at the same time.

(From Left to Right) Finance Presenter, Ryan Huang and Anchor, Timothy Go from MoneyFM 89.3
(From Left to Right) Co-Founder of BlackStorm Consulting, Paddy Tan and Co-Founders of Outside Technologies, Nicholas Lim and Tan Tu Jin

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As seen on Blackstorm’s Consulting Medium article:

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