People begin talking about how the business will operate, how it will be marketed, if they need an office location etc. One of the most common discussions to occur around this time is that of partnerships…who will handle what responsibility within the business. The decisions initially often seem like good ones, but more often than not, end up seeming like bad ones in hindsight.
You see, business partnerships are a tricky thing. You have probably heard that partnering with someone is like being married to them, well that is not too far from the truth. When you are in business with another person, you have to check with each other before many decisions are made. Those decisions that ARE made have consequences as well. When things go wrong, blame is quickly placed and arguments ensue. The common theme in business is that partnerships work well, as long as the business goes well. If it doesn't then you could be in for a long tough road ahead.
The key to establishing a solid partnership is in establishing the details of the partnership up front. Making sure to solidify as many details as possible BEFORE the paperwork is signed is often the best way to ensure success. The fact is, this rarely happens. Many people who go into business together were friends or colleagues first. They foolishly believe that their relationship is such that they can work out whatever differences arise to the satisfaction of both parties WHEN it happens. This type of decision has led to the downfall of MANY partnerships. If you don't take the time to establish strict criteria as to how the partnership will handle various situations, workflow, etc. then you could be setting yourself up for failure.
Another mistake that is common concerning partnerships is that new business owners want to add TOO MANY partners. It can be an attractive concept to look at adding people to your business to fill each and every need, but this is often a mistake. If you have too many people who have decision making power in a business, oftentimes NO decisions get made or the ones that do take an inordinately long time. If your business has needs you can look to add employees before additional partners or better yet, simply outsource your needs to contractors. These outsourced workers can handle your projects on an as needed basis. When their need is fulfilled, they are done. No ongoing expenses and no additional partners to deal with.
Business partnerships can work smoothly, or they can be a nightmare. It is always wise to enter into them cautiously, follow the advice offered above, and strive to work TOGETHER to make the business grow. Working independently or with a "my way is always right" mentality will almost ensure failure. Two heads are better than one when they combine their thoughts, feelings and actions. Only you can decide if a partnership structure is right for you.