Questions that can make or break a business partnership

Before being a life coach, I co-founded two other businesses. Everything went well initially, but after a while, my partners and I started having opposite ideas and expectations. We ended-up breaking the partnerships, and I can tell you, this is an ugly and time-consuming pathway to take.


I’ve seen this situation in some of my clients’ businesses, too. Some of them seek a life coach or business coach after dealing with their companies’ problems or with their business partners.


From my own experience and later from my clients’ stories, I learned that we should ask a few vital questions before starting a business partnership, even if they may seem uncomfortable.


If you find yourself at the beginning of a business partnership, do yourself a favor and have this conversation with your partner or potential partner. The answers to these questions can make or break your business, and it’s better to learn this before getting involved and wasting time and money.


1. What are your business knowledge and background?

If one of you has the know-how and the other has the money, the odds are that after a while, either of you may think that they deserve more revenue or more shares. Another situation can be that if one has a broader business background than the other, they might feel like they bring more value to the business. What is your and your partner’s situation?


2. What are your financial expectations?

If one of you wants to cash in the monies monthly and the other intends to reinvest all the profits back in the company, you are not on the same page, and conflicts will arise.


3. How much time are you willing to invest in this business? 

If this business is a side business for one of you and for the other is the main source of income, there will be conflicts or at least discussions about your involvement and contributions.


4. What is your approach when things go wrong or when the business is at a crossroads?

If you are willing to work harder to get out of the woods, but your partner wants to follow the next shiny thing, ask yourself if this is the person you want to share a business with. It’s better to consider both the good and the bad because they are both parts of a company and we’ll have to deal with both of them sooner or later.


5. What is your long-term vision?

In the beginning, we might focus on getting the ball rolling and not think about what happens in five or ten years, but if one of the partners sees this business as a source of income for the next year and a half, let’s say, while the other thinks of building it for more than ten years, you might reconsider the partnership.


After discussing your answers to these questions honestly, you and your partner can see clearly if you are in sync in this business and how you can move things forward. This doesn’t mean you have to have the same answers, as it’s more important to figure out if you or your partner are comfortable with the other person’s answers or if they are aligned with your values and ethics.


Of course, there might be other questions, but these can make a difference in your business journey, and the sooner you address them, the better.


Save yourself time and energy and invest your resources wisely.