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Taking on a business partner is as close to marriage as you can get.

And just like many marriages, people often rush in before they really know if they're right for each other.

Then before you know it, things that went unsaid snowball. Minor problems become major infractions, and somebody wants a divorce from the business partnership marriage. Before you start

If the answers are no, perhaps you should wait. You might be better off hiring a talented person as an employee versus setting up a partnership.

Date First

It is wise to go through a dating period, so to speak, before you rush and sign papers to and say "I Do" to an limited liability corporation (LLC) or incorporation (INC).

Date first. Get to know each other. Hopefully your business partnership "marriage will be long and sucessful. You must be able to communicate and connect. You must be comfortable expressing your true feelings, opinions, attitudes and core values and beliefs with your potential partner.

Complimentary Skill Sets

In terms of skills, you should have talents and expertise that complement each other, versus duplicating the same skills. You might be detail-oriented and your partner might be a visionary. That's a good match. Your partner might be an ace at sales and you might prefer to structure the operational aspects of the business. That's also a good, yin and yang fit.

Partner Up On a Project


Take your partnership out for a project test spin. If you haven't worked closely together before, work on a project together. This will give you an idea of how well you will collaborate and you'll get to see each other work styles in action.

Forward Thinking

What about spouses and children?  Will one or the other want to join the business one day?  What if a partner becomes ill or injured?  How will you handle matters if someone acts unethically?  What type of exit plan do you need to have in place? Have an honest discussion about the good, the bad and the ugly things that can happen in business and listen to how your prospective partner answers tough questions.

If you can afford it, go away for a retreat to work on the project and lay all your cards out on the table. The earlier you address issues from every angle, the better prepared you both will be to focus on making your business partnership a success.


Convenience Foods. Good for time. Not so good for your heath and your wallet.


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