This is a collection of some of the most frequently asked questions I get as a business partnership coach and mentor. Here, I share with you some of the answers.
Q: My best friend and I get along great, and we have a fantastic idea for a new business. We both want to start a business together, but I’m afraid – will it ruin our relationship?
A: It can if you’re not careful. The question is can you keep the personal relationship separate from the business? It can be done but it’s tricky. As a coach and mentor to business partnerships, I guide potential partners through the conversations they need to have in order to clarify and ultimately set up the boundaries and the structure needed to protect each side of the relationship.
Q: There’s an acquaintance of mine who wants to start a business with me. Neither of us knows each other well, but we are both excited about this opportunity. Plus, we have complementary skills and strengths. Is this a good idea?
A: No, not yet! Business partnerships are like a marriage. I hope you wouldn’t marry someone you don’t know very well, even if you both have the same hobbies and interests! Take some time to have a period of due diligence on getting to know each other, just like you would in a courting relationship. It’s critical that you know your potential partner on a deeper level so that you can establish trust and credibility.
Q: I have a great business idea, but no money. Should I get a partner so that I have some investing power?
A: ONLY if you and your potential partner can have a transparent discussion about financials prior to deciding to work together. Chances are, you’re selling yourself short – just because you don’t have a pile of cash to bring to the table, doesn’t mean that you don’t have anything to offer. Be sure you know what you both bring to the table – both financially and non-financially.
Also, there are several creative ways to pay back or compensate for the greater investment of one over the other.