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Even if you’re not thinking about it now, there’s a chance that you’ll want to bring on a partner to your new business. You might need some help, and you could always use another perspective on doing things. But you hear all these terrible stories in the news that business partners were embezzling funds or misusing company resources. How can you be sure the person you want to partner with is honest and interested in seeing your new business succeed?
BusinessWeek’s Smart Answers column addresses the issue this week, and has some golden nuggets of wisdom:
- Pick a partner who compliments your skills, not duplicates them. If you’re bad at sales pitching but great at production, make sure your partner picks up where you lack.
- Don’t jump in to a partnership for the sake of it. Take your time and shop around.
- Write up a formal partnership agreement and have a lawyer review it.
- Even if you’re friends with the person, do a background and a credit check on your potential partner.
- Clearly define your roles, and share the financial responsibility.
Just like dating, when you start a new business you can’t ever tell when a relationship will be forever or go bad quickly, but if you stick to these tips you’ll at least avoid some surprises down the road. [BusinessWeek]