When starting or building a business, many people wonder if they should bring on a partner. I’ve been fortunate to have quite a bit of experience with partnerships along with building businesses by myself.
When you’re starting a business it can be very tempting because it can help in two ways. One, getting it off the ground and two, it's only half of the financial load to get started. However, you also have to be sure you understand that this is about as important to you as is a marriage. Nothing shows the evil side of a person more than money.
Before you step into anything, make sure you are okay with getting into uncomfortable conversations with this person. You must understand roles and make sure you’re both willing to carry the load equally. If not, then the distribution of the company should reflect the workload.
I stepped into a partnership where I was willing to do whatever it took. Unfortunately, I’m used to that because how I grew up. I entered into something where my partner was only willing to work when they found the time versus making it a priority.
You have to sit down and understand what level they are really in this business.
If you are hesitant in any way, shape, or form to have these conversations at the beginning, then don’t even bother stepping into this relationship. The further in you get, the harder these conversations become.
Second, make sure your partner isn’t someone who doesn’t have the same qualities as you. To really optimize this relationship, bring in someone who has your weaknesses. You want to bring in someone who is going to be a great compliment to you. Maybe you’re the technical person, but you’re not great at sales. Instead of finding another technical person, bring someone on who is great at sales. Again, make sure you communicate expectations.
Third, really understand the roles each person will play. If someone is coming in as an investor, make sure you know if they’re silent or will have a playing part in the everyday pieces of the business. It has to be the same way for any partnership. Understand the roles of each person and who is going to do the majority of the work. Or find out if the work will be shared, etc.
You can’t just go in with the assumption that this is going to be the most awesome thing ever, with no set expectations of what each person is going to do.
Don’t shy away from partnerships because they really can be great opportunities. Just make sure you proceed with caution.
Do you have any tips and tricks for making partnerships work? If so, please comment below.
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