Making it work
The old saying ‘marry in haste but repent at leisure’ holds equally true when it comes to business partnerships. Although it can be tempting to jump into an arrangement when you meet someone who appears to share your enthusiasm, it pays to hasten slowly.
Finding a partner whose skills and experience complement, rather than replicate, your own can help to ensure a long and happy union.
“It may take time to find the right person but it’s time you can’t afford not to take,” Andrac says. “Thinking, ‘you’re my friend and let’s do this together’ often turns out badly for both parties. It can be better to set something up by yourself and figure out what you need to scale your business before taking it to that next stage.”
Discussing a range of ‘what if’ scenarios, including illness, injury and one of the partners wanting out, documenting whatever you agree upon and seeking professional advice before you make a commitment can help keep a partnership running smoothly from start to finish. Thorough planners may even pre-nominate a mediator should they need third party help to resolve significant differences in the future.
“Set the rules in advance and it’s easier to avoid acrimony and keep everything neat and clean,” Andrac says. “People are often reluctant to talk about these things when they’re in the ‘honeymoon phase’ of going into business together but spending time thrashing everything out can prevent a lot of problems down the track.”
Going into partnership can be the best business decision you ever make – or the worst. Taking the time to assess your options and work through the issues in advance can help you determine whether joining forces with someone else is the right way forward for your business.