You Buy the Peanut Butter, I’ll Get the Bread

Book gives insight on how to build a business with a friend

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Kirsten Poe Hill (left) and Renee E. Warren (Source: Regina Fleming Photography)

How did you get back on track?

Hill: First, we worked out a plan with the IRS. Then Renee and I sat down to figure out how we get new clients. We met with our employees to tell them they needed to be more self-sufficient, as Renee and I would be focused on bringing in more clients. And we got two new accountants, one for myself and one for Renee. This has worked out great because we have a system of checks now in place.

What was the business lesson learned?

Warren: That you should always double check a job someone’s doing for you — even if you trust that person. Make sure any questions you have are fully answered.

There was another story in the book about how the company became too dependent on one client.

Warren: This was a lesson we learned early on. We had gotten caught up in the project, the money was rolling in, and we didn’t reach out like we should have to expand our client base. So when we lost this client, it really affected our bottom line.

What was the lesson there?

Hill: Not to become dependent on one stream of revenue for our business. If you lose that client or that client goes out of business, you’re stuck. Use your Rolodex to find leads on potential clients.

In today’s economic climate, many more friends may decide to merge their businesses if they are in the same field. What would be your advice?

Warren: Make sure you both are in it for the long haul. Kristin and I both enjoy what we do and have a strong belief in our business model.

Hill: To make sure you are compatible as business partners, and have the same goals. Not all friends can work together. Also, figure out what each person is bringing to the deal — who’s good at what. Renee and I, though we were raised differently, have similar lifestyles and agree on our goals.

View an excerpt of You Buy the Peanut Butter, I’ll Get the Bread: The Absolutely True Adventures of Best Friends in Business here.

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