Who’s Zooming Who – Have you chosen the right business partner?

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In 1985, Aretha Franklin released one of her best selling albums.  The title track was Who’s Zooming Who – an upbeat song about the push and pull of pursuing a new relationship.  To their core, business relationships are simply that – relationships.  How should you decide whether a person is the right person to become a business partner?  In addition to delving into your business partner’s characteristics, the question requires a glance in the mirror to see what you, truly, bring to the table.

There are different types of business partners.  Is one partner going to provide only money and no operational effort?  Is there going to be an equal balance of both financial equity and sweat equity?  What is your expectation as to who is going to do what?  Who is best suited to accomplish which tasks.

Successful business require hard work.  You should ensure that your efforts complement your business partners and neither overlap nor compete.  Be careful in distinguishing between a charismatic personality and a narcissistic personality.  A narcissist may be highly manipulative, unable to get along with other people and be unable to accept responsibility for his or her actions.  The manipulative behavior can, ultimately become oppressive to your, your employees, your customers or anyone with whom you conduct business.

On the topic of hard work, be attentive to those who talk-the-talk but are simply unable or unwilling to walk-the-walk.  Those who talk and refuse to do will harm the success of your business and will likely harm you as well.  You will be inclined to do more work and the cost will be paid by your time.  However, your all-talk partner will be readily available to reap the rewards of your efforts.

You may not be able to identify challenging personality traits in yourself or your partner.  Sometimes, as time passes and business changes, you will find that your relationship or expectations change.  When your business makes money (or if your business looses money), you may see your partner quite differently.

Regardless of your personality traits or those of your business partner, the best way to protect your business is by creating the proper agreements to manage your expectations and set forth your rights and responsibilities within the business.  These agreements can be found within Operating Agreements, Shareholder Agreements or Partnership Agreements.  Even if your business is established, it is not too late to get the proper agreements in place.   Gordon Law’s insight into the creating of these documents can help your business to thrive regardless of who you choose as your business partner.

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