Starting a business is like child rearing. One has to nurture it and help it grow to its fullest potential, and just like marriage, an entrepreneur may choose to do it alone or with the help of someone else who is equally invested in seeing the business grow to fruition. This “someone” becomes your partner in the business, the same way that your spouse becomes your partner in raising your child. This partner must be a trusted, valuable person who shares your goals and vision towards the success of the enterprise.

In essence, a business partnership is an association between two or more people who work together towards the achievement of a mutual goal. Business partners can contribute to a business in the form of capital investment or services for a share of the profits generated from the business.

Working with a business partner can change the dynamics of running a business enterprise. They can exponentially add value to a business or run it into the ground. As an entrepreneur, you have to contemplate if you can comfortably run the business alone or whether you may need a partner. If the latter is the better idea, it is important to know as much as you can about the potential business partners. Find out about their finances, family life, work ethics and personal character before signing them on as a partner. You also need to know if your own values, skills and leadership style match that of the potential business partners.

Some partnerships do not require any formalities to solidify the partnership. This means that they do not require any sort of written agreement. It is however a good idea to have a document that legally binds two partners to avoid any internal conflicts such as sharing the profits or making executive decisions. To avoid any inconveniences that may arise from disagreements between businesses partners, you should be very vigilant on the sort of person you consider.

The following points can help you decide on the right kind of person to sign as a business partner:

The Do’s 

  1. Look for someone who shares your vision and goals for the business
    This is the first thing that an entrepreneur should consider. No matter how much money someone may bring to the table as capital investment or how good their services are, with differing goals and interests, the partnership is bound to fail. A partner should believe in your ideas, abilities and the goals you have set for the business. If they share in your enthusiasm and believe in your goals and the direction you want to steer the business in, the partnership will work perfectly to both your advantage
  2. Look for someone who compliments your skills
    As an entrepreneur, you should know your personality and seek to find a partner who would complement it. Both you and your partner should each bring your unique styles into the business. You may be impatient creative and outgoing. The business partner should be more patient, a critical thinker and a little more introverted than you are. This way, when both your unique styles are put together, the result is greater than all your parts summed up.
  3. Look for someone with minimal personal baggage
    Sometimes personal life issues and crises find a way of spewing over into the business setting. While this is normal, a business person should look for a partner who has little challenges in their personal lives. Such personal issues may distract them from the core mandate of the business and you are left shouldering the weight of the business alone.

The Don’ts

  1. Avoid untrustworthy partners with bad personal and business ethics
    Trust should be paramount in any business partnership. You need to trust your partner will not lie, steal or cheat in all business transactions for personal gains. They should have a spotless record of accomplishment because if the partner is known to be lazy or unenthusiastic they can end up being dead weight to the business. Their personal and business ethics should be reliable enough to reflect positively for the business.
  2. Don’t choose a partner based on their skills alone
    Selecting a business partner based on their skills alone is naive and can cost your business. For a business to grow, the ideas, routines and general modus operandi morph and evolve over time. This requires the skills incorporated to shift as well. You may have settled on a partner because their skill set was attractive but as the needs of the business change, they remain stagnant which is bad for business.
  3. Avoid business partners who don’t respect you and vice versa
    Never settle for someone whom you don’t respect, or who don’t respect you as a founder. To achieve any success, partners have to work as a team. If both you and your partner don’t respect each other’s professional opinions, ideas and efforts, the business will not succeed. Mutual respect between partners paves way for a smooth working relationship important for the growth of the business.

In closing, no matter how careful you are in choosing a partner for your business, things can always go wrong and even business relationships can go sour very quickly. Which is why it is very important to consult a small business Attorney NYC to look over any business partnerships you sign with your soon-to-be business partner.