So about 8 years ago my brother-in-law and I requested a meeting with my business mentor. He kindly granted us a 20 minute meeting so we could run our latest idea by him. In our enthusiasm we never expected to receive the advice he gave us that day.
My brother-in-law Andre and I get along amazingly well. We both paint for a living. We have very different but complementary strengths and skills. We both recognized that painting is better with 2 people, and we had a lot of fun whenever we worked together. So it seemed logical that maybe we should consider a corporate merger and blend our businesses into one.
Let me give you the short version of Mr. Mentor's advice...
'Partnerships are a bad idea. They always fail. And when they do it is often very messy.'
Looking back on that straight-forward advice, it was wisdom that we are glad we learned the easy way.
Recently I've read a couple of accounts of successful entrepreneurs who went through very difficult situations with partnerships. You may want to read of their experiences for yourself:
Mr. Money Mustache's Big Mistake (salty language warning)
5 Great Reasons To Avoid Business Partners - Dean Partridge
If you are considering entering into a partnership, think twice. Consider very carefully how you will dissolve or move on from the business when the time is right - build an exit strategy now while you are both on friendly terms. Outline in written detail from the beginning who is responsible for what, how each partner is compensated, how assets and liabilities will be handled and so on. Get legal advice. Get financial advice from your accountant, bookkeeper, banker and a business mentor.
Partnerships may seem like a good idea, but they can take you down and really stifle your family's quality of life for years. Keep your friends your friends, and if you work together on occasion just make sure the roles are clear and one person is in charge of a project.
Partnerships are generally a bad idea for a micro contractor who values simplicity, freedom and control.
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