Before going into business with someone else, you really need to think about it. Partnerships can work, but like marriages many of them fail. Here are five things to think about before starting a business with someone else.

  1. Can you work together? This is the biggest question you need to answer. If you can’t work together then you shouldn’t go into business together. It may seem like common sense, but many times people over look this because they want to go into business with a friend, a spouse, or a family member. Do some soul searching to make sure that you can work 60 to 80 hours a week with this person.
  2. Do your work styles complement each other? If one of you is really messy and one of you is really neat, it may seem okay to begin with. However, one year, or even one month, of sharing an office can lead to fighting over cleanliness. If one of you wants to aggressively market the business and the other wants to go slow and steady, it may cause friction. Make sure your work styles complement each other.
  3. Are you all going to work in the business or are some of you only investing? If you expect you and your partner to both work and contribute the funds to start the business and your partner expects you will do all work because he is only funding it, there is going to be an issue. Make sure have discussed who is contributing what to the business, whether time, money, or experience.
  4. Are you all ready and willing to put in the same type of hours if you are going to all work in the business? If you think you and your partner should both be working 80 hours a week until you are successful, but your partner only wants to contribute 40 hours a week then there is going to be friction. Talk with your possible partner or partners to make sure you all have the same goal.
  5. What are you going to do if the partnership goes south? Prior to starting a business with partners, you need to discuss what you are going to do if something goes south with the business. Is one of you going to be able to buy the other out? Will you dissolve the business? Can one of you outvote the others?