This is an interesting article by Paul Jackson and he sets out how to overcome some of the challenges but many of my members would say that even taking his advice it is hard to have true friends as your employees as they don't understand what you do or the risks you have to take. That's why having a group of peers you can really share the issues with can be a place to build great friendships that will support you as you grow your business
Most startups will agree that the first two years in business are really tough. As co-founders, you put your personal and professional reputations on the line when you start a company. Who you hire, therefore, is crucial. The eight founding members of staff of our company were 100% committed to our vision and shared our values of accountability, transparency, integrity and always delivering on promises. Where there is mutual respect, it’s usually possible to achieve an amicable solution to the trickiest workplace dilemma. We knew this because we had worked closely with them for some time. Most of these eight I would count as close friends and still do today. Which brings me to the first tip for handling friendships at work when you are in charge.