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Considering a Business Partner? Here are the Questions to Ask

For any small to medium business owners considering taking on a business partner, this can be a great way to grow your business for the future.  However, taking on a partner in business has its disadvantages as well as advantages.  If you’re thinking about either taking on a partner for your current business, or going into business with a partner, here are the top questions to ask that can help you determine whether this is the right decision for you and your business.

  • What’s your financial situation?  You should gain a clear understanding of your business partner’s financial health before committing to running a business together.  Anybody who has mismanaged their finances may not have the self-discipline and skills necessary to manage the finances and assets of a business.
  • What do you expect to get from this partnership?  You need to know what your partner’s expectations are and there should be a clear and measurable goal for what you want to accomplish in the partnership.
  • What do see as success for this business?  The main purpose for any business is to maximise profits for its owners.  Don’t make the mistake of forming a partnership without a clear idea of your partner’s definition of success as this may be different that yours.  If you’re going to work with a partner, you both need to be clear about the other’s goals for the business in future.
  • What do you bring to the table?  A good choice for a business partner is somebody who offers skills and competencies that differ from your own.  A business benefits from several different types of skills and expertise, so make sure your partner is bringing with them skills or expertise that you lack so that, together, you have a full bag of resources on which to draw.
  • Will this business be a priority in your life?  Managing a business takes time, focus and energy and you need to be sure that your partner is committed to making the business a success by giving the business the attention it needs.  Anybody who has family issues or serious life challenges may not have the dedication necessary to do what it takes to keep the business running successfully.
  • How do you think your presence will benefit the business, not just when things are going smoothly, but when times are tough?  Most businesses will experience a tough patch now and again and you need to be sure that your partner is able to handle a negative situation.  The best way of doing this is to research their past business experience (if any) or how they’ve dealt with adversity in the past.