Excellent advice, Mike. I've worked with many small businesses (some of
which later became large)as a consultant and have run a couple of my own
(and am currently working on another).
I'd add to the partnership portion of your advice: if you MUST take on
partners or investors approach the deal as you'd approach getting married.
When I had clients who were entering into a joint business venture, I used
to give them a modified version of some rules of conduct a psychologist
friend of mine used for marriage counseling. Then I'd advise them to go
home and watch that great old Humphrey Bogart film *The Treasure of the
Sierra Madre*. Trouble often arises between co-venturers when the business
begins to make serious money.
Also--in entering into contracts, write down all the terms. Not necessarily
because the other guy might try to screw you. In most disputes I dealt
with, both parties were acting in good faith. But everyone sees and hears
from his or her own viewpoint, and it's amazing how often the parties give
entirely different interpretations to the same words. Getting it down in
writing doesn't guarantee you won't have problems, but it helps, because
people tend to think more carefully when they write stuff down.
[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of Michael S. Lorrey
Sent: Tuesday, June 06, 2000 5:57 AM
Ha. At 22 I started a business with two older guys with an idea that I
thought would make me millions. Government policy changed, budgeting
dissapeared, and well, those virtual millions did too. I did get an
excellent education in start-up and operation of a business. Since then
I've been self employed and making a decent living (with far less stress
than being under someone elses' thumb), and am getting ready to launch
my own ISP company up here.
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