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How can I and my friend go into business together?

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You know what they say: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.

Having a co-founder is great for many reasons and it is no wonder that so many of us want to start a business with a friend. Not only you will have a different, richer skill set, but you will be able to talk to them about the business, because they too, will be thinking about it all the time. Your other friends will share the excitement for a while, after that, you will really need to start talking about something else.

Your romantic partner might not be thrilled about you bringing work home every day (especially if they have a 9-to-5 job). And let’s face it, you pay your therapist by the hour. Using your sessions to tell them about your social media strategy will get expensive.

Your business partner, however, will be always interested in what’s on your mind. I know, because I have one in two of my ventures and I’ve collaborated with a great team on the Complete Guides to Self-employment initiative.

But let’s get back to you and your friend starting a business together. I would like to talk to you about the various legal constellations your business partnership can take the form of. That way, you will be able to pick the one that makes the most sense in your individual set of circumstances.


Joint Venture (GesbR - Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts)

When two or more persons or entities join forces to achieve a common goal, they can establish a joint venture.

Legal personality: The joint venture itself has no legal personality, meaning it is each of you who carries out all responsibilities and rights you have obtained in the course of work. A joint venture cannot be entered in the company register and it is not an entrepreneur. Instead, each of the partners is an entrepreneur.

Both, private and legal persons, can be partners in a joint venture.

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