The Ultimate Guide for Starting a Business with a Partner
You’re ready to launch your new enterprise and you’re confident you’ve chosen the best business partner to work with. Here are some things to consider before starting a business with a partner.
Put it in Writing
From the very start, make all of your expectations crystal clear by putting every detail in writing. Documenting each aspect of your business plan, duties and remedies right from the start, while everyone is happy and excited about a common goal, can save you a lot of heartache if the road gets bumpy in the future. Even though it might feel like you and your partner are both easy-going and reasonable people, neglecting to spell out the specifics from the outset is asking for trouble. Will you both contribute equally to the start-up finances? Are family, friends, or spouses eligible candidates for hire? Who will make decisions about vendors, budgets, materials, deadlines? Will one of you be a silent partner, or will you both be involved in day-to-day operations? It is well worth the time it takes to work all of these things out now.
Duo or Solo?
The ideal business partner should share your ambition and drive as much as she shares your business. Evaluate your options and determine whether having a partner is an asset or a liability. Is your prospective partner someone you know personally or professionally? If your business doesn’t succeed will it damage a critical personal relationship? Do you share the same business goals and work ethic? Neither of you will enjoy the journey if one of you is continuously nagging the other to carry his share of the workload. Does this person bring skills or resources to the table that you don’t have on your own, or is she strong in all the areas where you are weak?
What if It Doesn’t Work Out
What happens if an unforeseen event causes one of you to have to pull out of the partnership? Be sure to discuss and document an amicable procedure for parting ways if you or your partner decide to leave the business. Emotions and personal feelings can cloud professional matters if one of you feels that the other is unfairly abandoning the venture or conversely, being asked to resign.
Deciding who to go into business with may be your first entrepreneurial challenge. Be sure to choose your business partner wisely!