business partner questions

A few weeks ago – I got the dish on how the business partners who run Think Creative Collective found each other and formed their company.

If you didn’t listen to that, well, jump over there AFTER today’s…because today, I’m sharing some of the key questions  you should be asking before you sign on the dotted line and join forces with a business partner.

After the rush of ideas and excitement of working with someone to grow a business together subsides a little bit, you’ll be in the trenches getting the work done.

How you start this venture together is important to the success and future of the business AND your relationship with the person.

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If you’re ready to go pro, you’ll want to take some key actions AND ask some tough questions.

1. What’s your exit strategy?

No one wants to think about the end when you’re excited about the prospect of working with someone. I get that. But you’ll thank each other that you were pro enough to make a clear agreement.

Who gets what? Think of all your business assets–the list, the website, the graphics, the content…almost like possessions you might split up in a divorce. Knowing in advance who brings what and what happens will really make the process of splitting up easier and less emotional. Believe me, it can get emotional even if you don’t expect it to!

2. What’s your genius zone and who will do what?

Come to the table with a good idea of what your genius zone, your core strengths and talents are. Look at how they overlap and complement each other. Talk about your personality, how you handle criticism, how you take feedback.

All of this will help you structure the company you want to build together. Perhaps both of you are great writers, but only one of you has a visual background, while the other of you is better problem-solving and building systems.

You want to look for all the “staff positions” inside you. Just like you played all the roles when you were a solo business owner, now you get to split those up and dole them out to the right person. If there are two of you – hopefully, you’ll have some overlap and a bunch of areas where there’s a clear division of skill.

2. What will the day to day look like?

The honeymoon is over, you’re still excited about working together, but now, you should sit down and go through all the tools, tasks, and stuff you do on a daily, weekly, regular basis to run your business.

Even if one of you will implement and document the systems, the sooner you agree on some basic processes the better.

3. What will make you legal?

This should be the first place you go when you decide you want to partner. There are so many pieces of the puzzle to consider. I know you don’t want to take the fun and joy out of what you do, but you have to set your business up properly, make sure your work is protected, again–create agreements that make the decisions for you if at any point someone wants out.

See below for a few resources to get your closer to the agreements you should have in place to protect each partner, the business, and your customers!

4. How will you pay taxes & handle money?

Another piece that’s important too for people partnering. Get financial advice and tax time advice way before you need it! I’m no expert on taxes but I can imagine that partners who live in different states, running one business, virtually, could bring up some questions for you!

You might make it as easy as setting up the business in one location and paying your business license taxes in one place…but again, this is something to check with a CPA and bookkeeper.

5. How will you hire help?

At the beginning you’re literally doing everything yourself. You get to spread that work out when you have a partner. But at some point, you will want to hire someone.

Again, time to get a pro in to help you. Sure, you can go onto a site like or, but you may want to create a more permanent position.

There are plenty of freelance human resources professionals who can help you figure out what you need, but get legal, be legal from the start. Don’t worry if you think

Mentioned On The Show

9 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Choosing A Business Partner

Think Creative Collective talk about their meant-to-be partnership (episode 88)

Behind the Decision To Hire My First Full-Time Employee

Figure out who does what:

Now Discover Your Strengths

Strengthsfinder 2.0

Built To Sell

Where to get legal advice:

Annette Stepanian

Elizabeth Potts Weinstein

Rachel Rodgers

Know how money is handled:

The Common Cents

Learn Vest

Fully Accountable

More Resources!

1) Free Launch Planner: Grab this completely free launch planning workbook. Download, print, and start planning your launch today — don’t forget to add in the test and secure your website tasks!

2) Want to work with me one on one? If you’re a business owner who knows that you need a coach, someone to work through your launch strategy, figure out your launch plan, get spot advice as it comes up…then we could be a perfect match!

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