Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 33 seconds

Starting a business is an exciting venture as well as a rewarding, fulfilling experience. However, it requires a lot of dedication, endless work, and constant attention that may be overwhelming to handle on your own. Entering into a business partnership may be a good opportunity to ensure you don’t get lost in the process of starting your own company.

Advantages To Business Partnerships

Business partnerships help to level-load the burden of starting up a business. With a partnership, there are two (or more) partners involved to share the work of getting your business organized, running, and hopefully off the ground. Business partners can divvy up the work and rely on each other’s expertise to strengthen the whole.

There is also another person as invested in the success of your business as you. Together, you can brainstorm, strategize, and direct the course of business. As it’s often said, “Two minds are better then one.”

Criteria For Successful Partnerships

Once you decide to enter into a partnership, there are some critical decisions to make and discussions that you must have with your business partner early in order to establish long-term health of your company. After the tough stuff, then you can decide if you are going to have a ping-pong or foosball table… Or both!

To manage the business partner relationship, here are four main actions to take, as follows:

  1. Establish roles, responsibilities, and boundaries early. Are you forming an equal partnership? Is one person a majority holder with the other(s) minority holders? Decide on titles, too. Who is the CEO, CFO, Owner/Co-Owner, etc.?
  1. Sustain direct communication. Face discussions head on; side conversations, hemming and hawing, or avoiding the discussion is just going to sew confusion between you and your partner(s).
  1. Treat each other as business partners, not friends. Set up meeting times, communicate an agenda, state your purpose, and listen to your partner’s input.
  1. Finally, get a lawyer and sign a contract. Few phrases cause more anxiety than these, but having a business attorney and creating a contract is critical to business success. Make sure that everyone is clear that the lawyer is there to help all of you establish a clear, fair arrangement. Spell out this arrangement in a contract in no uncertain terms. For example, who is investing and how much, who is receiving what portion of proceeds / profits, or how much is being plowed back into the company versus salaries.

Avoidance Will Crash A Partnership

Ignoring these critical tasks when setting up a partnership can quickly tarnish your vision and lead to in-fighting that will stop you in your tracks. Be aware that difficult conversations must occur; do not shy away from them. If there is anyone with whom you should entrust your ideas and opinions, it should be your partner!

Still, like any relationship, you need to foster the partnership. The goal is to support each other and build together, not keep things secret and collude against one another. Your goal is not a hostile take-over but a win-win for all.

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