When starting a small business it can be tempting to look for a partner to share the load — but entering into a close business relationship like this can be as difficult as many personal relationships. But how do you make sure that the partnership is going to work before you commit to it?
Handshake image via Shutterstock
Our friends at Business Insider spoke to Shark Tank investor Robert Herjavec to find out how to find that person who shares your passion enough to weather the highs and lows of starting a new company. As part of his job on Shark Tank, Herjavec has coached partnerships that run the gamut from best friends to family members to entirely professional relationships.
According to Herjavec, there are just three main things that you need to keep in mind when looking at a partner:
Do You Have A Shared Vision?
Maybe it sounds obvious, but it’s one of the cornerstones of a good working relationship. You need to both agree from the start just what it is you want to accomplish, as you won’t achieve anything if you’re working towards different goals.
Herjavec also says that you should have a strong personal relationship with your business partner — no matter what relation they were to you before your venture. You will be spending plenty of time together, after all.
“The business is a living, breathing thing,” Herjavec said, “and you’ve got to get along.”
Who Has The Final Say?
“It’s hard to get willful, tough people to work together, and it comes down to the partnership agreement,” Herjavec said. “It’s very difficult to have many captains of a single ship.”
Are you going to be co-CEOs, or will your partnership work in a different way? No matter how you structure it, it should be clear who has the final say in what area.
Will You Be Able To Drop Them If It Doesn’t Work Out?
“Kevin [O’Leary] on ‘Shark Tank,’ always says it best, ‘If you’re going to go into a small business, you have to be willing to fire your mother,’” Herjavec said. He doesn’t know how literally you should take this advice, “but there’s an element of truthfulness to that.”
If either partner is uncomfortable with the idea of having to fire a friend or family member as a business partner, then they probably shouldn’t enter into the partnership in the first place. Both sides should be upfront with each other — once they become partners, the business is the main priority, and they need to do what it takes to make it succeed.
For more from Herjavec, head to their post at the link below.