Here’s What You Need to Consider Before Taking on a Business Partner

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As an entrepreneur, starting your own business is a huge risk. The vision, the capital, the decisions and the responsibility rest on your shoulders. There comes a time when you consider getting a partner. Whether you are early or after you are established and ready to take your brand to the next level, the decision to partner is not one to be taken lightly. When it comes to choosing a partner, choose wisely.

Marriage, divorce, and running a business with someone else have a lot in common. It’s exciting at the beginning! You spend all your time together, enjoying your similarities and making big plans. As your relationship routine develops, you begin to think and speak alike—even finishing each other’s sentences. But when the honeymoon phase is over and challenges surface, some relationships weather the storm and others sink like the Titanic.

Much like a messy divorce, a business partnership is not one that comes out of it without extreme difficulty. It takes a long time to go through all the legal stuff to properly form the partnership, but breaking up can take even longer and be more difficult, so it’s important to be very strategic from the start.

A good contract is of course an absolute necessity. Even then, you may have an uphill battle ahead. If your partner doesn’t agree to a breakup, disapproves of the terms you set, or just wants to make things difficult for you, they can make things difficult for you—even if you have first refusal. You may even need to have your business evaluated by an independent party. It sure is an energy and time waster.

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So before you get into the proverbial business bed with someone, make sure they’re for the right reasons!

See also: The 9 most important reasons why business partnerships fail

Do you really need a business partner?

Many of you will accept a partner for the wrong reason: fear. You are afraid to stand alone, because then all decisions begin and end with you. No one else is to blame when you fail, and for many of you, that’s the scariest scenario. You may feel more comfortable knowing that the decisions being made are not entirely on your shoulders and therefore you do not have to take full responsibility when things go wrong.

But the truth is, if you have full control over brand development, you are more likely to be successful. Most of you CAN and SHOULD do it on your own, especially a startup. Just as your personal happiness comes from within, the success of your business is within your power. Stop looking for outside solutions and trust that you will find the answers by following your own intuition. You don’t have to know everything; All you have to do is stop questioning yourself and trust your instincts! Remember that you have accomplished amazing things to get where you are now, and you can achieve even more greatness to propel you forward and achieve your great goals.

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Related: 5 questions to decide if you need a business partner

What you should consider before entering into a business partnership

Of course, there are many scenarios in which a partnership is an ideal situation. It just has to be an option that you carefully and consciously consider. A partner has to bring as much to the table as you do. There must be equal energy output. As in any healthy relationship, this energy will ebb and flow. Sometimes you will do more and sometimes your partner will do more. This is natural. However, one person should not always carry the burden. The value you all bring to the company must be the same.

It’s important to examine your strengths. If you both bring similar qualities, then simply multiply. Think about how the other person’s qualities complement yours. Make sure they bring strengths and skills to the table that you don’t have. If your genius lies in being a visionary leader, you need someone to bring your vision to life. Partnering is a smart choice when groundwork isn’t your forte, or when you have so much groundwork to do that it’s preventing you from completing the visionary work.

When I opened my first business, Mad Men Barbershop, my partner (and then husband) was the visionary; I was the financier and eventually the integrator. We complemented each other well in business. Each of us drew on our natural strengths and unique thought processes to achieve the success we have today. Of course, we’ve had our share of disagreements and adversities. But we knew we had to face the challenges as a unit or we risked everything falling apart.

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See also: 10 questions to ask yourself before committing to a business partner

Trust yourself

It will take a unique individual to understand your mission and work on the company on an equal footing as a team. You need to make sure that you are aligned with this person and that you are both committed to overcoming the inevitable difficulties that will arise. Weigh the pros and cons, and you may find that you would be better off hiring the right people who can help you get to the next level, rather than half your business – your dream – in a partner to leave.

Trust you to know whether it’s time to turn your business around and embrace a partner or have the guts to keep killing it alone. It’s an easy decision when you act with purpose and intent instead of self-doubt and fear. You’ve already made the biggest and scariest decision in business – go for it! Keep up the momentum. The right decision is up to you.