Six Things to Consider Before You Go into Business With Your Partner

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The festive season is a great time to sit down with your family and talk. Many of us will have time off from our usual roles and responsibilities, and the chance to talk to our loved ones about something other than the usual day to day details of our lives can be golden.

Perhaps this year you’ll talk about starting a business with your partner. Whether your passion is photography, marketing, accountancy or manufacturing: the lure of you and your partner becoming your own bosses can be very strong. If these dreams do start to turn into more concrete plans, there are lots of things to think about.

If you’re thinking about going into business with your partner, my advice would be to consider these six things first.

1. Is your relationship strong enough?

This may not be an easy question to answer, but I do think it’s really important to ask it. Running a business can be very draining and it can put a real strain on you both. If you know there are issues in your relationship, it might be wise to work on them before you start writing a business plan.

2. Are you both going into business for the same reason?

People want to start their own business for many different reasons and you and your partner might not have the same one. If one of you wants to go into business to build acclaim for themselves while the other wants to do it so they’re free to finish early every afternoon: you may have a fundamental clash!

3. Do your skills compliment each other?

In an ideal world business partners would all have different skill sets that compliment each other perfectly. Before you jump into buying domain names and setting up a website, you might like to sit down together and honestly assess what your skills are and whether you have the key areas covered between you.

4. How will you separate your work selves from your personal selves?

If you’re going to be working together, think about how your relationship will be different in the office than it will be at home. You may be becoming business partners, but it will be important to make sure you have time together as life partners too. Discussing how you plan to make this work right at the beginning could save you from disappointments later on.

5. Are you compatible professionally?

You already know that you’re compatible personally, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to work well together professionally. The traits you love about your partner while you’re enjoying free time together may drive you to distraction once you’re in the office. Be honest about whether you think you’ll work well together!

6. Do you share the same values for your business?

I’ve saved this point till last as it’s one of the most important. If you remember anything from this post I hope it’s this: if you and your partner don’t share the same values for your business now it will likely lead to big problems in the future. This is true whoever you’re thinking about going into business with, whether it’s your partner, a friend or a colleague. It’s really important that you have a clear shared focus of what you’re working towards and how you plan to get there.

A new year can be a very exciting time, both personally and professionally. If you have big goals for a new or existing business in 2015, I hope you get some quiet time over the coming week to think about how you’ll achieve them!  

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