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Picking Your Business Partner: Three Critical Things to Think About

January 19, 2017 // R. Shawn McBride // No Comments »

I recently received a call from a business partner that was leaving the business. They were having some difficulty with their partner, which brings us back to the importance of picking your business partner. As we’ve discussed previously, picking your business partner is critical. Having a great business partner can be a wonderful opportunity to create value for a business for so many reasons. You have to have the right business partner, and you have to lay the foundation. I talk in The Three Laws of Empowerment about the power of planning, and how the correct planning can empower you ( ). When you’re laying a plan with a business partner, there’s some key things you should always be looking at.


#1 You need to have a clear understanding of your business. You need to understand what the business is, what you’re each going to do, and how your business philosophies are going to work together (whether they’re the same or different), and how you’re going to deal with the differences. If you’re working with your business partner and you haven’t had enough discussions to figure out where your differences are, you haven’t had enough discussions.

#2 The devil is in the details. There’s often details that you’re not thinking about, which are going to cause tension and problems. This is where you want to spend your time. You want to make sure you have a comprehensive business plan with your partner, because problems are going to come out of details you didn’t even think about. You’re going to have different ways of doing things, which are going to expose themselves, and cause a lot of tension later in the business.

#3 You have to have an out. Regardless of how comprehensive you think your plan is, or regardless of how wonderful you think your business partner is you have to have a way to exit. You have to have a way to part ways if something changes, or if you find something out that you weren’t anticipating. Merely having the exit strategy will make it more likely for you and your business partner to continue to work together.


Business partnerships can create a lot of value, but they need to be carefully built from the beginning. The most successful partnerships all have elements of planning and understanding early in the process.

What’s been your thought on business partnerships? Have you been part of one in the past? What have you learned about business partnerships? Share your comments below.


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This posting is intended to be a tool to familiarize readers with some of the issues discussed herein.  This is not meant to be a comprehensive discussion and additional details should be discussed with your attorneys, accountants, consultants, bankers and other business planners who can provide advice for your circumstances.  This article should not be treated as legal advice to any person or entity. Se hui kim.


About the Author

Shawn McBride is the Chief Innovation Officer at McBride For Business, LLC. His signature keynote, The 3 Laws of Empowerment (, gives audiences an entertaining look at how they can prepare, plan and protect themselves. You can reach R. Shawn McBride at or (214) 418-0258.


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Posted In: Business, Empowerment, Growth, Legal, Management, Risk, Speaking, Strategy

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