Friends... How many of us have them? Friends... Ones we can depend on. Friends... How many of us have them? Friends... Before we go any further, lets be Friends. If you don't know which epic hip-hop group those lyrics were written by, more than likely, we CAN'T be friends because friends have things in common. Friends share common goals and interests like political views, music, hobbies and spiritual beliefs. But should you ever go into business with your besties?
There are pros and cons to having your best friend as a business partner and if done right, you and your friends can make some serious bank. Below are my favorite examples of friends whose collective efforts paid off in a major way.
Case in point: Raynell Steward, known as Wuzzam Supa/Supa Cent, owner of The Crayone Case cosmetics line. If you don't know her, we CAN'T be friends.
Photo Credit: RollingOut
This Nawlins, Louisiana native capitalized on her viral Vine and Instagram videos to cultivate a cosmetics cult following to serve high pigmented make-up inspired by school supplies with a concentration on darker skin tones. The premise for the pre-school product line theme is to encourage beginner makeup artists and enthusiasts. In other words, The Crayon Case is your the line to use if you are just learning to apply makeup. That was 2017. Sis sold $1 million worth of Crayon Case products in 90 minutes on Cyber Monday 2018 and had a repeat sales performance - another $1 million in sales during her #Taxmas promotion in March of 2019, completely selling out in less than an hour, grossing $1.37 million with over 23,000 in online orders.
It would be next to impossible to know Supa and not know her friends, Love and Hip Hop Atlanta's Tokyo Vanity and Da Real BB Judy, Jesseca Dupart, CEO of Kaleidoscope Hair Products. In 2014, Judy launched her brand of edge control, Miracle Drops, and other hair care products with the use of her savings. Tokyo Vanity is famously known for her 2015 hit single "That's My Best Friend". They cheer each other on. They support one another. I love these three ladies. These real-life best friends are #GOALS!
Photo Credit: theundefeated.com
LeBron James (second left) and longtime friends (from left) Randy Mims, Maverick Carter and Rich Paul.
Still wondering which of your friends will support you if you start a business? Look to the throne if you need more inspiration. King James - LeBron James - totally ignored conventional wisdom when he hired his 3 best friends to manage his multi-million dollar finances. LeBron James met Rich Paul at 17 years old when the hustler was selling throwback jerseys. They immediately hit it off and soon as (and I mean soon as) Bron Bron signed his max rookie contract with the Cavs for $12.96 million for 3 years, the homie Rich was on payroll. LeBron had no doubt of the heights his friend could go despite having never gone to college as a business major, but was making $15,000 per week selling jerseys from the trunk of his car.
To round out the threesome, add Maverick Carter, a friend from around the way when LeBron was still in high school. They played ball together but Mav's life went in a totally different direction when he dropped out of college to be a sports marketing intern at Nike. This threesome became a quartet, calling themselves The Four Horsemen which includes Randy Mims who has been a friend of Lebron's since he was in kindergarten.
Photo Credit: SLAM
In 2006, they founded L.R.M.R. Management, totally controlling LeBron's brand. The squad was responsible for his move to Miami for 2 championships and millions of dollars worth of charity work, then back to Cleveland for another ring and even more community investment in his hometown. Most notably is LeBron James' Nike deal worth over $1 billion. With Carter, Paul and Mims behind LeBron James, he's been able to position himself as a stellar athlete, actor, a businessman.
Back in 2016, Phil Jackson referred to James' team as a "posse", using the term as a derogatory characterization of the L.R.M.R Management team. In 2019, we can collectively say, "BYE PHILIP".
Photo Credit: unknown
Inspired? You should be. These stories are the stuff dreams are made of. So now it's time to take a few notes and apply these gems to ya life.
Qualities to look for in a friend if you are considering going into business with them:
Integrity - Your EBT card scamming ass friend is not partner potential. Flat out. She maybe good for some groceries when you are 3 days away from payday but you should probably think twice before putting sis on payroll.
Strong Work Ethic - If your homie didn't do his part of the 11th grade group project, you will more than likely be carrying the load if you go into a partnership with that guy. Roles and responsibilities should be shared. You want those with a strong work ethic on your team, not someone you have to strong arm to give you a sales report.
Persistence - You need someone on your 3, 6 and 9 ( that means to your left, back and right sides for the slow class) that will remain persistent and dedicated to the task at hand. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Choose friends that can push through the challenging times.
Now that you have the prefect friend in mind, here are a few do's and don'ts.
Do communicate often by scheduling business meetings regularly.
Do determine individual strengths and leverage them to establish clear key roles from Day 1.
Do write a business plan that includes an exit plan, preferably under the counsel of an attorney. If for any reason the business dissolves, you want the split to be amicable and you want to maintain confidentiality, trade secrets and brand integrity.
Don’t start a business with a friend just because y'all like each other. You cool and everything but this is not personal. Trust is the glue that will hold the business together, not matching outfits or having the same gym membership.
Don’t make assumptions about each other’s goals, availability, or passion for your joint venture. Specificate your ability to commit long or short term.
Don’t mix personal and business matters by letting your business take over your friendship and vice versa. Going into business doesn't mean you can't still have girls night or hang with your boys doing things that are not related to the business.
An African proverb says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Another saying is, "friends are the family we choose". When you choose your friends wisely like Wuzzam Supa and LeBron James, you will no doubt go farther than you could have imagined.
Go bess fran, who's your bess fran? Tag them and start paper chasing.