Building a company alone is possible, but it is more difficult than if you can pool resources with other like-minded professionals. Before you decide to go into business with a person or group of people, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Prior to solidifying a business partnership, there is one vital question to ask: Do all the parties involved have the same overall goals and vision for the company? Success means different things to different people. If you and your business partners have competing ideas, it could lead to friction and lack of cohesion across company aspects

Another part of a successful business is knowing what each partner brings to the table. Some people are great with communication while others are better with computers or finance. Be sure that the partners you’re choosing fulfil a vital need for the company. When your skills complement each other, it allows for each partner to do their part without stepping on each other’s toes. Your strengths should compensate for your partners’ weaknesses and vice versa.

Even if your skills match up perfectly, you still want to consider the personalities of your potential business partners. There are people who will tell you that it’s a bad idea to go into business with your best friend. While this is true in some cases, it may lead to greater success for others. If you have comparable temperaments and leadership styles, creating a business together could be a fun adventure that pays off in the end.

No business partnership will succeed if there is a lack in communication. To start, you should discuss your long-term and short-term goals. Beyond that, partners should communicate regularly about new developments and overall business progress. Before any big decisions are made, there should be a conversation involving all partners. When multiple people have invested time, energy and resources into creating a business, no one wants to be blindsided by surprises. Here are a few general tips to ensure beneficial communication throughout the length of your partnership:

  • Take responsibility for your actions (both positive and negative).
  • Admit mistakes quickly. By owning up and keeping everyone in the loop, problems can be solved efficiently.
  • Don’t hold grudges. Air your grievances and move on.
  • Support each other. Everyone has off-days.
  • Respect each other’s opinions, even if they differ from your own.

In my career, I was lucky to find my business partners early in the game and stick with them through it all. From Clipper Magazine to Oak Tree Development Group and beyond, I know we have a partnership and friendship that will withstand the test of time.