When you begin a business partnership, it's essential to put a solid, detailed operating agreement in place. That's true whether you're forming a partnership with your best friend since kindergarten, your brother-in-law, a longtime work colleague or someone you barely know.
This can help prevent costly and stressful disputes later or at least give you or a court a basis on which to decide them. Disputes over finances, operations and intellectual property are among the most common issues that business partners deal with.
It's also essential to do your due diligence on your potential partner(s). If you're partnering with an established business, review their books, talk to employees and view the facility. A background check is often wise. You want to know if a potential partner has any pending judgments or lawsuits or a criminal record.
Your operating agreement should lay out some clear parameters, like who has decision-making power over the finances and operations of the business. Financial decisions should require the approval of all partners. This can help prevent problems like embezzlement, which is more common than many people realize.
It's important to detail how the management of the business will be divided. Everyone should have "skin in the game," as one attorney notes. If two partners start a business with the intention of putting in equal time and effort for an equal share of the profit, stipulate that.
Of course, partners can still have disputes, even with an agreement in place, that they have to resolve in court. An experienced North Carolina attorney can help protect your interests and your business as you seek to resolve the dispute.