Reflections on What Ruins a Business Partnership

A business partnership is really about partnership and business. Many business partnerships go wrong when they overlook this major principle. Women entrepreneurs tend to place more importance on the relationship benefits of their partnerships and ignore the money aspects of running a business. Here are some reflections on money, business and partnerships learned the hard way (real names changed):

  1. If you’re not earning enough, get out. If your start-up phase exceeds the gestational period for an African elephant, you may have to face that what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, or those with whom you’re doing it isn’t working. You must meet your personal expenses. Just as you wouldn’t dream of taking a salaried job that underpays you, so your business should not underpay you. This means you need to be mindful of your needs as they grow and change. When Laila started her business, she was single. By the time it ended, she was married and actively trying to get pregnant. These lifestyle changes gave Laila a totally new perspective on work, the time she wanted (and could) spend, and the amounts of money she needed to generate to support her family. Your purpose in life is not just that you work for your business – your business needs to work for you.
  2. Understand financial statements. Many business owners shy away from balance sheets and P&L statements, and do nothing about their financial illiteracy. Sticking your head in the sand when it comes to financial statements is poor business management. You need to know what the numbers are saying, and to find help from the outside to understand them fullyadditional hints.
  3. What is your partner’s mindset towards money? There are some telling signs as how they are going to cope with shared business finances. Look to how they handle their own finances. Are they always leveraged, or are their personal finances in good order? Have they filed for bankruptcy? Do they have bad credit? What language do they use with regards to money? Are they always complaining of being broke, or they do have a positive, prosperity consciousness? Ben partnered with someone who was always complaining about being broke, and it took him a while to recognize that his partner’s underlying negative mindset affected their business decisions.

As you are journeying the world of business together, make sure your partners and you clearly understand each other’s goals with regards to business and personal financial gain. A business partnership must focus on making money; otherwise, it will not be a helluva joy ride, but a trip from Hell!

Nina Kaufman, Esq. demystifies legal mumbo-jumbo to save small businesses time, money, and aggravation. She’s an award-winning business attorney and columnist/blogger for Entrepreneur Magazine online. Go to for her free Entrepreneurs Business Law Primer and to learn more about her user-friendly business law resources.

Speak Your Mind