T. Randolph Catanese, Esq. © 1998
Mistake No. 9 - Be Very Very Careful About Whom You Select As A Business Partner. When was the last time you heard that a business partnership was a good one? Chances are you have heard that most business partnerships end in failure. The divorce rate might be approaching 60% between married couples, but when you look at business partners, the divorce rate is probably more in the range of 90%! It is a rare situation where business partners are able to work together for any length of time. Problems arise in business because there are many pressures and unlike a personal relationship these pressures do not get resolved nearly as often between business partners. Business partners are exactly that. It's "business" and not a personal matter. That means that when you pick a business partner you want to pick someone who is right for the business. Many times people make the mistake of choosing a friend or someone that they think they might like to be in business with, when in fact that person is not suitable to be a business partner for them at all.
My best advice regarding a business partner is to have that partner interviewed by your attorney, your accountant, your wife or husband if you have one, and as many of your friends that you trust as is practicable. If this person can get through all of those persons, then you likely have a good business partner candidate. But if one or more of these persons let you know that they feel uncomfortable with your choice for a partner, you should give careful consideration to what they tell you and heed it. The consequences of ignoring their advice can be disastrous. A bad business partner can help you or assist you in committing all of the mistakes we talked about earlier even when your common sense tells you that you shouldn't commit these mistakes.
If you do elect to go into business with someone, it is even more important to avoid all the mistakes listed above. Make sure you have paperwork, make sure the paperwork is correct, get good advice with your business plan, select the right ownership vehicle, always protect your personal and business credit and avoid entanglements with the government or your landlord.
Should trouble arise, contact Catanese & Wells and speak to a business dispute lawyer for advice on mending the relationship.