A partnership can be a great business management strategy. Having the support and help of someone who compliments your talents, shares your passion, and fits your culture can lead to business success. The right partnership can make the job more fun and life more enjoyable. On the other hand, choosing a partner who doesn’t fit, work, or share your vision—can be a nightmare.

Avoid the Nightmare

Before committing to a partnership, you should share policies, clarify roles, and complete background checks.

Background check – Most state governments offer inexpensive criminal background checks such as IN.gov. It’s prudent to check backgrounds and discuss any findings before moving forward. A credit check may be appropriate as well depending on the business and the partners responsibilities.

Clarify roles – Don’t leave this to guess work. Be clear about who has what responsibilities and what tasks are shared. Go into detail and put it in writing. Don’t stop at, “You run production and I’ll manage sales.” Outline specific activities, procedures, and expected results.

Agree on policies – A friend once brought a partner into one of his restaurants. The new partner began eating and drinking for free, which escalated to his friends and family doing the same. My friend saw this as theft—if it had been a clothing store would the new partner expect free clothes? Be clear and specific about your policies.

Hire an attorney – Put all of this in writing and include an escape clause.

As I said in the beginning, a business partnership can be a great strategy for managing your concern. Choosing the right partner can help grow your business. It can be rewarding, fun, and a stress reliever by sharing the burden on two sets of shoulders. Choosing the wrong partner can make life a living hell. Are you in a partnership? How did you choose your partner?

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