Getting into business with a friend or well-respected colleague can be the greatest time of your life—or the worst. If you’re looking to start a new business with a partner, there are several things to consider before entering into any agreements. Between who owns what, hurt feelings, and legality issues, a lot can go awry. Here are some starting tips to get on the pathway to a good business relationship.
Before entering into any agreement, make sure you know who will be doing what. If you are more of a social person, you should let your partner know ahead of time that you intend to handle discussions with clients. If you feel your partner has more of a knack for writing up contracts than you do, let them know you feel it’s their strength so they know what will be expected of them once the partnership has begun.
Know Your Own Weaknesses
Knowing yourself is important, whether it’s knowing what area you’re great in, or what tasks you might need a helping hand completing. Before entering into any agreement in a business with someone, you should know what you will need help with, and what things you will need their help in. This relates a lot to discussing the responsibilities. In order to work together the most effectively, you have to know what the other person has to offer, and also what you will need to help them with to make your business a well-oiled machine.
Know Why You Chose Your Partner
Before any disputes happen, remember why you chose this person to be your go-to partner. Having the mental list of things you like about this person, what they have to offer, and what things you agree on will help you stay level. Instead of getting upset when things aren’t working too great, you can try to remember every reason you chose them. Maybe they have business contacts you don’t have, or they have a degree in law, which helps your business with the nuances in the legal system.
Keep Open Communication
One of the best ways to avoid having trouble with someone is to know where they are coming from. If you know they have a lot going on at home, you can know to expect a little less of them in terms of productivity. If you know they want to have a vacation in the next three months, you can try to make the time for them to be able to leave the business for a week or so. Having this type of knowledge can aid being considerate of each other and avoid any feels of resentment or misunderstanding of the other person’s perspective.
Have a Partnership Agreement
Having an official agreement is more than just covering the bases in case things don’t pan out; it’s a way to lay ground rules and make sure everyone is comfortable in the situation. When deciding on an agreement, the aforementioned tips can be added in. You can divide up who will be taking care of what, discuss how best to communicate, and decide on compensation & ownership of the company before issues arise.
Even with all of these tips, partnerships can still fail. Much like any commercial litigation case, these issues can get complicated quickly. If there is no agreement or lines have blurred over the years, you might need to take legal counsel to get out of the mess.
By Lauren Wainwright, a blogger in a team of writers with a focus on features writing. Follow her on Twitter!