Ask Annabel My best friend is hurting my business… Dear Annabel, Six months ago I started a business with my best friend. My job was to drum up the business and find some customers. Her job was to set up systems and get us ready to grow. It’s been a tough six months, but we are trading and beginning to make some money. Now that I am not out on the road quite so much I can see that she is not really doing a lot to take the business forward. Nor can I see any sign of any systems. I feel as if I am in business on my own, but having to share a very small amount of money with her for doing very little. What should I do? M. Give your business partner time to explain her views and listen carefully Dear M, This is a very common problem when starting a business with a friend. You need to have an open and honest conversation with her about what your expectations are and about who does what – particularly when it comes to the division of work. It is not a good idea to start off by blaming your friend though – or accusing her of not doing her share. Let her have her say. There may be reasons why she is not doing what you think she ought to be doing.   Sometimes if one partner is more confident than the other, the less confident one waits for direction, instructions or even approval before doing anything that might turn out to be ‘wrong’. Book yourself a long lunch or coffee break with your business partner away from where you normally work. Explain that you both need to review how the business is progressing with regard to the financials, marketing and administratio [...]

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