A while back, a colleague invited me to partner with her in her business. I was intrigued by the possibility, but ultimately decided not to do it.  The key morsel of advice came from my attorney, who begged me: “Don’t do it!”  I’ve been thinking further about the partner/no partner question:

  • Does the partner bring something to the table that you don’t have besides money?
  • Can the partner round out a management team?
  • Can you work and live with the individual for a long period of time?
  • It’s hard to get a divorce.  Who has control?  How do you escape?

It’s probably inevitable that a partnership will develop.  There may or may not be ownership in the company, but if there are any employees, the operating owner-employee relationship will start to look like a developing partnership.

One last thought: find a good attorney.  Ultimately, the partnership needs to be put in writing with an operating agreement.  The agreement will have a lot of boiler plate language in it, but it needs to spell out who the decision maker is and how control is divvied up.  It better also represent how the partnership will dissolve whether for amicable reasons (one person wants to move to Hawaii) or because of more nefarious reasons.

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