You need to choose a business partner very carefully, indeed. Many people fall into partnerships with people they know because it seems easy or natural. Yet doing so without sufficient thought could risk both your business and your friendship.
You need to step away from your relationship and look at your potential partner with a fresh set of eyes. Here are some things to consider:
How reliable are they (really)?
Maybe you can ignore that someone is forgetful or often turns up late when they’re just your friend. You probably don’t need to deal with them every day, and their behavior does not affect your reputation. Would you still be happy if they turned up late to an important business meeting with a client or forgot to post a vital document causing the company to lose out? Be critical and honest in your assessment.
Why do they want to get involved in the company?
Do they just want to hang out with you more? Are they just at “loose ends” and happy to take any work offer that comes their way? Or do they have a genuine interest in the company’s area of operation and a dedication to helping it succeed?
Why are you considering them as opposed to anyone else?
There are plenty of skilled people out there and plenty of potential investors. While there is a certain amount of security in partnering with someone you know, you likely have other options, even if you need to look a little harder.
What’s more important? Your friendship or the business?
You may need to make this call one day, so it’s better to think about it now before you sign anything. While you can build in clauses to minimize the potential for major fallouts, they can still happen.
There’s a lot to think about, so consider legal help to get some perspective and draw up a partnership contract if you decide to press ahead.