STRIPLV0717

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Striplv Magazine - The Sexiest Magazine on the Planet, Issue 0717

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Doing Business in a No Clone Zone Overcoming the Partnership Conundrum By Howard T. Brody “I wish I could replicate myself so I could do even more.” – Chris Leavitt (b. 1973), real estate agent, star of “Million Dollar Listing.” If you are a business owner, how many times have you wished you could’ve cloned yourself so that you could’ve done everything you needed to do exactly the way you needed to get it done? Realizing that was implausible, how many times have you simply thought about bringing on a business partner? After all, wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could bring someone on board who thinks the way you think, works the way you work, is as dedicated as you are and is willing to take the same financial risk that you are taking? Choosing a business partner is like selecting a spouse, and although it may sound cliché, you better pick the right one because you are making a life-changing decision. Aside from the fact that you are essentially getting into bed with this person, just like a marriage, while the right business partner can be great for you and your business, the wrong partner could be a kiss of death – not just for your business, but if you are not truly careful, you! Before signing on that dotted line, here are some things to consider when taking on a business partner. Equity While a 50/50 partnership sounds nice, at the end of the day someone needs to have the final say in things. While you and your potential new partner might get along great today that might not always be the case in the future, and you need to be prepared. Depending on how their equity is obtained – are they putting in actual dollars or is it “sweat equity”? – that will most likely determine who gets to have a 51% say in things. In some cases, one partner may get to make the financial decisions while the other partner makes the operational decisions. Whatever the breakdown is and however it’s divvied up, it’s best to put everything in writing. Commitment Similar to the equity topic, exactly what is your potential new partner’s level of commitment? Are they just coming in as an equity investor? Will they be passive? Is this something of a part-time interest for them? Or are they in it to win it like you are? Like the mindset topic below, it’s good to know from the get-go exactly what their time and effort commitments are. There is nothing worse than someone who expects to have a person doing their fair share and working with them side-by-side only to end up with an absentee partner. Mindset Before signing any agreement, make sure you are on the same page as your potential new partner. For example, what if you are looking to expand the business and they are planning to streamline it? Immediately that would create chaos. How do they feel about your employees? If the partnership is in a business that has more than just you and them as employees, what are their thought on the people you currently have in place? Are they going to try to replace a longtime loyal worker with one of their own people? Do they want to put a relative on the payroll? It’s important to know what their overall mindset is going into the partnership as well as what the expectations you will have for each other are. Chemistry You may have different management styles (a micro-manager as opposed to a laidback approach), personal habits (a drinker versus a non-drinker), or even have very different lifestyles in general because of personal choices that are so diametrically opposed to each other, but the one thing that cannot be diverse is chemistry. Everything else is irrelevant, and no partnership will survive if you and your partner do not have chemistry with each other. Spouses You may think this is ridiculous, but this is a make or break proposition. If your new potential partner is married, do they get along with their spouse? Are they respectful of each other or do they argue in public? If they are constantly disagreeing and argue in public, you can be sure that you will be disagreeing and arguing with your new partner in public too. If you are married, how does your spouse get along with your potential new partner and how do you get along with your new partner’s spouse? Also, how about the two spouses? Do they get along with each other? A problem with any one of these relationships can easily derail a business, or worse yet, a marriage. Business harmony is essential for success.

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