Becoming an entrepreneur offers special freedoms and opportunities that an individual can pursue on an individual basis. However, as a company grows, the option of hiring a business partner is often considered, and in many cases, necessary. While assistance in running a business may seem desirable and advantageous to the company, a partner should be carefully selected to ensure the best match for professional success; not anyone can succeed at this job.
Look for company-oriented compatibility
A partner should share the same degree of interest in the company as the owner, although their interests may vary. For example, one person may prefer the day-to-day operational tasks, while the other enjoys handling the creative side of things, such as marketing and community relations. If one person has only a casual interest, the other will probably be burdened with most of the work, which creates animosity.
Divide the duties
Write a company mission, strategic plan, or business plan to organize the operations and goals. Make sure it clearly spells out who is responsible for what. The plan should also specify how disagreements or conflicts will be handled. Profit-splitting and other financials should likewise be addressed. Never assume anything in running a company, and put everything in writing, updating as needed.
Keep it professional
Some experts recommend social activities with your business partner, and perhaps even taking vacations together. While this works for some individuals who knew each other before their joint business venture or who automatically get along perfectly, it can backfire. Spending too much time together could lead to relaxing the rules at work by allowing the partner to arrive late or leave early, or take a pay advance if that is not the usual practice. Some partners may expect perks or not fully understand how to conduct business professionally. While it is okay to have fun out of the office, be careful that it does not jeopardize company operations or the work environment.
Don’t expect perfection
If your business partner has less education or experience than you do, he or she may need some time to adapt to the job. Special training might be needed to get your partner up to speed. While you don’t want to necessarily relax the rules or lower your expectations, a degree of patience could be needed while your partner adjusts.
Have a back door
Agree up front on an exit strategy if the partnership doesn’t work out. Keep interactions amiable and respectful, no matter the outcome because you never know when you may have to work together again in the future. Make sure you have an agreement that protects you and your business, no matter what happens.