Planning to start a business partnership with a friend? Prudence demands looking at the pitfalls – as well as the potential strengths – of such relationships. Here are a few questions to consider.
What will my friend contribute to the business? Does he or she have strengths that will clearly enhance the business – abilities, knowledge, or resources that you don’t possess or aren’t willing to acquire by other means? Say, for example, you are good with customer relations, but not too good with numbers. If your friend loves details and is clever with records, the partnership may make sense. If, on the other hand, your friend really can not offer something that would round out the business or make it more profitable, you might want to consider partnering with someone else. If your primary concern is where the bulk of your funding is going to come from to get you off the ground then you may want to check out the banking and financial services available to businesses from the likes of Atlantic Union Bank, seen here – https://www.atlanticunionbank.com/business.
Are you willing to lose the friendship? This is a tough question, but one that’s critical to consider. After all, you and your friend will be working together, day in and day out, to make the business succeed. Such relationships can bring out the best – and worst – in people. Most, if not all, business partners will disagree on things from time to time. These disputes can be minor or they can grow into much larger arguments, which could impact the company. If this does happen and the argument involves legal matters, it might be worth looking at contacting a business and commercial litigation attorney for entrepreneurs in Reno or somewhere more local to you. Disagreements are likely to happen, especially if both of you are passionate about the business. However, if maintaining your friendship is one of your highest priorities, partnering with someone else may be a better choice.
What’s expected from each partner? Developing a profitable business is hard and often unrewarding work. You and any potential business partner should honestly discuss expected work hours, contributions, and responsibilities. Resentment can creep into any business relationship when partners feel that workloads and rewards aren’t fairly distributed. As there will be a lot to do when starting a business, it is important to discuss what each business partner should be doing to try and benefit the business. Without a conversation about this, it can be unclear what each person is doing. A good example of something that could benefit the business is looking into marketing. If you haven’t already used it, SEO services can be particularly useful for startup businesses. Victorious, and other companies similar, can offer SEO services that can increase website traffic and hopefully increase your business growth. That could, potentially, ease some of the tension that may result from the business not progressing.
Can you communicate effectively? Like a good marriage, a long-term business partnership takes honest communication to succeed. Ask yourself, for example, whether you can handle constructive criticism from your friend/business partner. Even the closest business partners don’t always see eye to eye, so it’s important to take an honest look at how you both handle disagreements. Will you work through difficulties for the firm’s sake, or bury your head in the sand and hope for the best? Answering this question is crucial to the success of your partnership.
Stuart J. Oberman, Esq.
Stuart J. Oberman is the founder and President of Oberman Law Firm. Mr. Oberman graduated from Urbana University and received his law degree from John Marshall Law School. Mr. Oberman has been practicing law for over 30 years, and before going into private practice, Mr. Oberman was in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 Company.
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