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Learning how to Partner with Others: 5 Tips to Remember

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Do you offer something that someone else may need?

Does someone else offer a service or product that you need?

Consider becoming partners!

When you're building a business, it's important to work with people you trust and like.

You'll want to decide if you want to contract out work (by hiring an individual or firm) or identifying partners who agree to work with you in exchange for equity in your endeavor. You could offer something like a 1%, 10%, 40% share (or more) in your company depending on what your potential partner brings to the table.

We do this for some select web design projects for my company, where we agree to organize, plan, design, and build a website in exchange for a share of the company's profits.

When working with partners, you'll want to cover five main areas:

1) Skills
Does this partner offer something that you currently do not have available? What is this partner good at? Can they fill a position or two that you are currently envisioning for your organization?

2) "Good Fit"
Do the work habits and ethics of your potential partner match your own? You only want to associate with people who make you feel comfortable, happy, and at peace. If there is any kind of "bad vibe", consider signing some alternative agreement.

3) Professionalism
You want to be in business and work with other people who are also committed to staying in business. Make sure that your career or business track matches with that of your potential partner.

4) Non-disclosure forms
There are standard NDA's which protect your and your potential partner's interests. Sign these prior to you offering any kind of agreement with anyone. A standard NDA can be found by doing a search. SCORE offers an example: http://www.score.org/downloads/NonDisclosureAgreement.pdf

5) Paperwork
Make sure to make written agreements. This may take the form of you hiring the partner as an independent contractor for a fixed amount, signing them on as a member in your LLC, or signing them for a certain number of shares in your corporation. This is probably the most important of the five tips: in the event that your company becomes very successful (think millions of dollars!) you'll want to make sure that all obligations are spelled out in as much detail as possible.
 

I'm personally looking for talented individuals who have an idea and a passion for a particular subject area, but do not have the technical expertise to develop the infrastructure to build the idea into a web-based business. We'd love to partner with you if this sounds like you: we have the technical and website development know-how, you bring the ideas
 

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