When it comes to partnerships, there are many things that can turn bad, like a corporate dispute, unless you have solid company bylaws in place to prevent them. Partnerships are about trust and working with someone else to make something greater than either partner could have made alone. With successful partnerships, two or more heads are better than one, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. There are three main attributes to a partnership that can make or break it.
Communication about Your Intellectual Property and Business
The first obstacle any partnership faces is intellectual property, because you have a few talented people contributing commercially valuable ideas to a venture. There are always many questions to ask, such as: Who owns what? Does the business own the intellectual property, or do you, or does your partner? Can you both own them? These are great questions for your business attorney, because only your company lawyer knows your goals and your bylaws.
Knowing what your partner wants out of the business, knowing what you want out of the business, and knowing what you both are capable of is very important if you do not want to end up having a nasty business dispute in the future. Talk often, define your roles, and stick to them. Have a scheduled reevaluation of your roles and adjust as necessary, and do not forget to mention adjustments to your business lawyer, so that he or she can adjust your operating agreement and bylaws as needed.
Compatibility and Avoiding a Business Dispute
Corporate disputes between partners are always painful for both parties. Most partnerships begin with either a friendship or the promise of mutual benefit. If there is business litigation required at the end of a partnership, then something went wrong that might have been avoided. Litigation lawyers are sometimes necessary to resolve a business dispute, particularly with partnerships that end up very badly. However, if you are not to that point yet and are just starting out, it is best to make sure you and your partner are compatible. Liking or respecting your partner will be good for morale, because sometimes helping someone else is better motivation than helping yourself.
Operating Agreements and Your Litigation Attorney
Setting up an operating agreement to decide how your business will run is very important to a successful business plan. You cannot do everything alone, and deciding how everything runs through a corporation’s bylaws is important. If you, your partner, and anyone you employ are comfortable following the bylaws, your partnership should work out much better, and you’ll have documents and a good lawyer to defend you if something does go wrong later on.