If you are considering going into business with someone else, this is a decision that you need to think through carefully. Are they the right person, is it the right time?
Whether you’re starting a business or are already running it, here are some questions to ask yourself before committing to a business partner:
Why do I need a business partner?
Assess why you need a business partner. Is it just for money or do you need their expertise? Ask yourself what they could bring to the business to improve it, preferably it’ll be more than just cash.
Have you ever worked with them before?
If you’ve worked with them before, then this is a good basis to start off from. This way you won’t be left with any surprises. If you haven’t, then it might be worth asking them about their working style or even talking to people they’ve worked with before to get a bit of insight.
Are you risking a personal relationship?
This is a tricky one. If you go into business with a friend or family member, what happens if it doesn’t work out? You need to carefully weigh up the pros and cons of doing this before you enter into something that you later regret.
It might help to have some agreements beforehand if either party wants to call it quits.
What’s their business experience?
They might have great ideas (and great cash) but if they’ve never set foot in the driving seat of a business, this is something you need to be wary about. If you need a business partner to split your responsibilities, ideally you want someone you don’t need to hand hold through a lot of the business. This will just double your workload.
Are you on the same page?
If you’ve both got vastly different ideas for which direction you want the business to go in, then this is a red flag. It may be that neither of you are wrong but you need to have a focus and an agreed direction otherwise a lot of time will be taken up by bickering and arguments.
What type of partnership are you both looking for?
Some people are quite happy to be a silent partner, invest money in exchange for shares in the business. Others want to know what’s happening with their money and will want a very hands on approach to the day-to-day running of the business. Make sure their expectations are compatible with yours to avoid clashes and misunderstandings.
Do you complement each other?
Do your working personalities work together? You don’t have to pick someone who is exactly the same as you. It might even help if they’re a bit different.
If you’re more of a creative, you might need someone who’s better with details and numbers. Having business partners that are different but not so much so that they clash can give your business the best of both worlds.
Are you going into business with someone? What’s your main concern? Please share your thoughts.
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About The Author
An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.