Originally Posted by GatSplat
I'd say don't do partners.. find another way.
Absolutely dead on!
I have been selling stuff to small businesses for years and every partner owned store has had big time problems for themselves and many times for their vendors.
Partners rarely know their boundaries or have even taken the time to formally work them out. I have gotten angry calls many times from one partner because the other ordered something from me and "they aren't supposed to order that kind of stuff!" There is one store that I have tried to work with over the years that has SIX partners ... all working in the shop. And they have to order everything by committee. NIGHTMARE! They still ask why I don't come to visit them anymore.
One of the most problematic of partnerships is when you do it with family. I have seen a LOT of husband/wife owned stores that end up in divorce because they just couldn't separate areas of responsibility like Larry noted above. Back when I had my store, my area was wholesale and service and my wife had the rest. Any time I stuck my nose into one of her jobs, I got it smacked like a bad puppy. My choice was to learn my place or get a divorce.
When you go into business with friends, it is the same. Once you step on your friends toes and things start to go south, at least your friend doesn't half your house too!
If you really need a partner, make it the bank. If you need the manpower,
hire as many as you need. That way, you will succeed or fail on your own.