Perhaps you started a business a while ago and it is going well for the most part, but you decided that you’d like not going it alone any longer.
Maybe you connected with someone you really liked and who you are thinking of as a potential partner. You may have met on the tennis court and found that you have some common interests beyond sports.
You arrange to meet for lunch and talk business. In the process you both discover that your business and career goals seem to line up. He likes what you do and is looking to make a move. And, you see someone who can inject some needed capital and even bring skills that, for now, are a little thin in your business. Truth be told, you are tired of going it alone.
You schedule a date to talk again soon. You each go home and share your growing excitement with your spouse. Both of you are moving ahead emotionally about becoming partners and it looks like the possibility of “planning the wedding stage” is gaining momentum.
Maybe your new partner-to-be is willing to contribute the same amount of money that you invested, in order to be an equal partner, but slow down. There are certain considerations that must be faced first.
You know how it feels to be in this business. Your new possible partner only has an imagined idea about it.
You claim ownership and no matter how happy you are to have a partner, there may be times that you will feel that the business is really your baby. So besides all of the issues that need to be discussed, agreed upon, and written clearly into a partnership agreement, in this case additional questions have to be answered.
Here are some of the things you need consider beyond the basics:
A trial period can be a very good idea since you haven’t had the time to know each other in the context of working on and in the business. Your new partner won’t know for a few months or longer if he actually enjoys it, and neither of you will know for awhile if you like working together.
If a new partner walks into half ownership by way of whatever agreement you made and then wants to leave in 6 months, he could still retain his share. That might leave you owning half of your business. Discussing and making decisions about buy-backs, equity retention, and other implications is where I advise you to consult with the best legal and financial advisors.
It is wise not to “plan the wedding” before you both have answered the Essential 15 Questions which will help you know if you are a potential good match.
If you decide to move ahead in business together a win/win partnership agreement that is personal and unique to you should be your next step. Combine it with decision making about What IF Scenarios. Do it now, before you are in the midst of a crisis and emotions take over.
The more foundation work you do upfront the more you can ensure your likelihood to succeed as partners will increase.
Have the discussions resolving differences beforehand or discover early on that you are not a match except in tennis and remain good buddies competing on the court.
I will be happy to answer your questions and comments about your own experience and support you in any way I can.
Best wishes for your success,