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What should you ask when choosing a business partner?

Picking the right business partner is as important to the success of your company as anything else you'll do during the business planning stage. You need someone who will work with you, help to advance and redefine your vision and make the company stronger than you could make it alone.

Remember, this is more than a friendship or a even a partnership. The two of you should have a legal contract defining roles, rights, compensation and much more. Once you pick someone, you'll be working together closely for months, years or decades to come.

Here are a few things to ask yourself as you look for the right person:

  • What type of person do I actually need? How can this person cover my weaknesses and bring out my strengths?
  • What expectations do you both have? Should you talk about them up front to make sure both people are on the same side?
  • What financial considerations does your potential partner bring to the table, either in assets or debt?
  • Are you both just as committed to the company? Or do you actually feel far more driven than him or her?
  • What will your business partner do when you run into problems and roadblocks? Since no business runs flawlessly, how can you expect that person to help you?
  • Will your partner read and sign written documents defining your agreement? If not, is it too big of a risk to work together on nothing more than a handshake?

These questions can help you start down the right path. Make sure you both understand all of your legal rights and obligations.

Source: Entrepreneur, "10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner," Lisa Girard, accessed March 28, 2018

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