In my book, Your Idea, Inc. I have a survey that’s helpful to discuss with a potential partner before starting a business so as not to end a wonderful friendship. It happens all the time, starting a business with a close friend sounds like alot of fun…but it’s not always wine and roses. Priorities change and two people may soon have two completely different visions for the company long term. I’ve been to the school of hard knocks in regard to partnership, and I’ve seen it destroy others’ friendships over the years. So, think long and hard before going into a partnership and if you decide to move forward, be sure you have plans in place for things like an exit strategy if one partner wants out, financing the biz issues, time commitments etc.
As a starting point, I recommend lots of dicsussion!
Here are some questions to start with:
1. Is this business/idea your top priority?
2. How many hours per week do you plan on committing to our venture?
3. What’s your goal for this company?
Which of us is more capable of dealing with the financial issues? Marketing and sales? Website and social media?
4. How will we solve an issue if we disagree? Who will have the final say? Who would be mediator if we cannot come to terms?
5. List your top 3 strengths that you bring to the table.
6. List your 3 weaknesses, where you may need the most support.
7. What are qualities you most admire in your business partner?
8. What qualities scare or intimidate you about your biz partner?
Working with someone has pros and cons. Of course, it nice to have the support and different perspective, but you will need to compromise. Begin talking, break the ice, know ahead of time that things may get uncomfortable. Then you can move forward with a true and meaningful understanding of the way your partnership will operate.