One of the most important choices when creating a company is deciding whether you should go at it on your own or bring others as partners. Creating a partnership requires hard work but most of all, complete trust. With that said, never go into a partnership unless you’ve disclosed in full what the responsibility and expectations are for each of you, and most importantly, you have that in writing.
A common mistake by most people going into business for first time is thinking they can worry about the legal side at a later stage… that’s a very bad way of thinking. You are going into business with the hope of making money by solving a present pain in the marketplace. This will require lots of time, obligations, and tons of stress from multiple angles; angles that most of the time are nearly impossible to predict.
What happens if your company gets acquired? What happens if you get funded and one of your new investors does not like one of you? What happens if time to market extends longer than financially possible, and forces one of you to not continue and has to leave the company? What happens if your goals and mission changes during the process and can’t see eye to eye? These are some of the many questions that unless you have things in writing prior to them happening things will go in a downward spiral. This will not be an easy situation to deal with and relationships once thought of being great can turn into nightmares.
Prior to going to bed with someone do each other a favor, talk, talk, talk, and then put things in writing. Once that’s done then do whatever it takes to execute your product to market. It is sad to know that some of my good friends have been burned for forgetting to exercise this simple, but yet important step. If you can’t talk about these subjects with your “future” partner, don’t even think about going to bed with them. Once money is involved (or lack of), people will change, I guarantee that. Choose wisely on who you go to bed with, because it is a marriage.