One could make strong arguments for and against co-founding with friends or family. On the one hand, you wouldn’t be choosing them if you didn’t already get along and perhaps talk about the idea of running a business together. But on the other hand, the stresses that come with running a business can be intensified when your personal bonds are stronger with your co-founders.
So what’s the best course of action?
If you have a friend or family member in mind for your co-founder, you need to interrogate that decision. Ask yourself a series of questions to get to the bottom of whether this is the right decision, or you should look for more neutral co-founders. For instance:
How well do you communicate? Beyond things like a similar sense of humor, can you comfortably discuss difficult situations, collaborate on solving issues, and handle confrontation well?
Do you know what your roles would be? Return to our sections on what to look for in co-founders and consider your friend or family member in those roles. Do their strengths complement yours? Does their temperament resemble your own?
Do you want the same thing? You may have different levels of ambition, but your fundamental drive should be the same. Finding a neutral co-founder is often easier because you aren’t friends—you just want the same thing and you’ll work hard to get it. This isn’t always the case with having friends or family as co-founders.
Have you assessed their professional history? Because you know them, it should be easy to review your co-founders history with past startups, previous professional relationships, and employment history.