I’ve started a new home business and it has finally started to take off to where I can’t keep up with filling orders. My good friend has been looking for work and has proposed the idea of us going in to partnership together. I’ve already laid a lot of the groundwork for the business and am not sure about taking on a partner versus hiring an employee. I’m also not sure about working with a friend. What do I need to consider here?
First, list all the things you need help with. If the primary thing you need help with is to fill orders, this is not the job of a business partner; this is the job of an employee.
If you would like to subspecialize within your business, then you may want to consider bringing on a partner. What I mean by this is that the business strengths of each partner compliment each other. Such as, you like managing the production and distribution side of things, and your partner likes managing the administrative and sales side of the business. These are the business partnerships that I have seen work the best. You have separate duties and responsibilities.
That said, you should carefully consider how your two personalities mesh. A business partnership is akin to a marriage in the complexity and commitment it takes to keep it running smoothly.
Also, a true business partnership takes both of you having some “skin in the game”, meaning, you both invest capital monies toward expenses, equipment etc. A true partner puts up the cash and puts their name on the business loans.
I’ve had more than one person want to “partner” with me in business that had no intention of bringing any money to the table; and they wanted to take home a regular paycheck to boot! I call those people employees, not partners. If you choose to bring your friend in as a partner, do so with a legal contract that spells out the duties and responsibilities for each of you. Put it in writing.
Finally, if you do go in to partnership with your good friend, be prepared to lose the friendship if things go sour. It can happen so I suggest you venture cautiously in to this type of arrangement.
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- List all of the things you need help with in your business.
- Which of these tasks would you be willing to let someone else handle?
- How do you feel about bringing a partner on after you have done the hard work of getting your business off the ground?
- Do you work well in partnerships or are you more of a lone ranger?
- What vision do you have for how you want to run your company and does it include having a partner?
- Is this a friendship you are willing to risk losing?
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