In many ways, a business partnership is like a marriage. You and your partner support each other, in both good times and bad.
You want to avoid a bad partnership, like a bad marriage, at all costs. If you form a partnership the right way, you will reap the rewards for many years to come.
What you need to create
No matter how well you think you know your partner, put everything in writing. That means negotiating a partnership agreement. You can start with a draft agreement that you find online, then revise the document to fit your needs. It should cover all financial and strategic decisions.
Communication is the key to any successful partnership, so make it central to your plan. A regular structure of meetings can help identify and address small issues before they turn into big problems. At all levels, encourage open and honest talk.
What you need to keep in mind
Go beyond textbook business techniques by making imagination part of your strategy. Encourage everyone to “think outside the box.” This keeps them engaged, resulting in creative solutions and new ideas. You do not want your business to be a carbon copy of your competitors. You want to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Remember the reason you are in business and the passion you have for your profession. Parts of your partnership will evolve and develop over time. Creativity and enthusiasm are as important as anything you put on paper.
No partnership is perfect. Dealing with a crisis is part of doing business. Be prepared to address the issues with a solid business plan.
What you need to protect your interests
People have written entire books about forming a successful business partnership. In effect, you want to write your own book, with plenty of room for updates and revisions.
What is most important is finding the right people for your venture. Accounting for the human element keeps your business fresh and on the right track.