Thinking about going into business with someone? A friend, relative, spouse, or an outsider? There are a number of different considerations when going into business with someone, not the least of which is: are you both actually compatible? Here are the top signs you might be a good match:
1. You Disagree. Sounds counter-intuitive, but you don’t want to be in business with anyone that just agrees with whatever you say. It’s likely they’re holding back and sooner or later, they’re going to let loose with disagreement in a big way after holding in their real thoughts for so long.
2. You’ve Had Fights. If you’ve already had fights with your business partner before going into business and were able to resolve things quickly and without lingering resentment, chances are you can have a fight in the future and still be able to move forward.
3. Your Spouses/Rest of Family Are Not Connected. When people come to me trying to get away from their business partner, I cringe when they launch into some long story about how their kids grew up together, their dads did business together, their wives have lunch every week, etc. The more outside relationships you have to consider when dealing with your partner, the more likely it is you can’t exercise independent judgment. You need to be able to deal with a business partner honestly and transparently without outside influence.
4. You Don’t Think Your Partner Is An Idiot. Sounds crazy, but a lot of people secretly think their business partner is an idiot. This is a definite red flag and it’s likely you don’t really respect your business partner. If you don’t feel your partner is just as good of a person as you, or as smart, or as kind, don’t go into business with them because you’ll never fully trust their judgment.
5. Your Core Values are the Same. If one partner’s only interest is in making as much money as possible and the other partner puts family above all else, serious friction is bound to develop. Your top two or three core life values should be the same. You can’t have one person toiling away at the business at all hours and the other person leaving at 5pm to have dinner with the family.
Business partnerships take a lot of work, both before you're in business together and during the partnership. For what to look for before considering a partnership, watch my upcoming webinar, details soon!
Sarah E. Holmes is a Philadelphia business attorney and strategist that helps start ups and established businesses looking to expand, protect their assets and increase their profits in an approachable, down-to-earth way.