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Starting a business with a friend or family member can be fun & exciting.  You already know the person on some level which can provide a level of presumed safety & trust.  However, it can also make us less cautious going into the situation when in fact the opposite often should often be the case.  

When new business partnerships start with individuals who share little personal involvement with each other there is never a question about contracts and sitting down to develop a detailed plan of everyone’s responsibilities.  Yet often times this is overlooked with partnerships that involve people we are close with.

When working toward mediating new partnerships, especially with friends/family I have found it very important to start out with a solid foundation.

I hope that if you are at the point of looking into the best way to start a partnership that you have already done your research about the business you are going into.  From the success rate, to the community interest and local market for such, to true profitability.  If not I suggest this be your first step.

Follow that by additional research specifically on starting your type of business with a partner.  Take the time to talk with other similar business partnerships to get a perspective on what you can expect  from someone who has been through it.  Especially in relation to how they balance obligations.  Do online research to ensure you and your perspective partner have a clear vision of what commitment this will take.

Once you have done your research take the time to sit down and walk through all aspects of the proposal together.  If possible have a truly objective third party there to offer an outside perspective when needed.  This can be a mutual business minded friend but would be better if it were a mediator of some kind.

I recommend to start by each creating individual detailed lists of all the responsibilities (financial as well as task oriented) that you can think of in relation to the partnership/business.  No detail is too small.

Once each of you have your ‘lists‘, before you share them with each other, look through them and focus on the areas you believe your perspective partner has a special talent for.  Focus on the True benefits your partner will bring to specific areas of the business.  

Follow this by objectively doing the same for yourself specifically focusing on areas you are certain you have more skill or talent in than your prospective partner.  

This is a great starting point for discussion as it allows both of you to really see where each of you stand with regards to your vision of the task oriented responsibilities.  It also allows each of you to get feedback from your perspective partner about what positive qualities they see in you and vise verse.

It is then time to move on to the more menial tasks and discuss how they will be divided between the two of you.  By having a true division of tasks there is no question about who’s responsibility it is to deal with certain aspects.  Thus allowing you to start out with a clear vision from the beginning.

Lastly move on to the financial aspects.  If everything is being shared 50/50 it can make things easier but often this isn’t the case.  Regardless it is important that both financial obligations as well as division of financial gains be clearly discussed and contracted from the beginning.  This will eliminate any misunderstandings in the future.

I personally recommend all aspects of responsibility be contractually divided from the beginning.  Then as time goes on they can be altered & updated to fit your growing partnership.  This can be one of the most important steps in starting a such partnership out on the right foot.  

Often friends and/or family think this step is unnecessary because they ‘trust’ each other.  But the truth of the matter is by offering to contract in detail at the beginning of a partnership, you are both showing your commitment and therefore your trustworthiness more than anything else you can do.

All to often ‘it won’t happen to us’ becomes ‘I can’t believe they did this to me’ especially where friends/family are concerned.   Dissolving not only a business but often a relationship.

Working out the details and contracting them from the beginning will allow you to better focus on the more enjoyable aspects of the business as you move forward!

Good Luck with your new business and have Fun!

Love, Light & Blessings,
heart Miss T heart

“It’s Never too Late to become what you Might Have Been” - George Elliot

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