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Is it wise to partner up when opening a restaurant?

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I am a 27-year-old female living in small-town Minnesota. I have wanted to open my own restaurant for years now, just haven't taken the jump yet. A good friend proposed that we partner up. I am a little leery. She has her ideas, I have mine, sometimes our ideas match. She does have the business background that I lack. I have been in the restaurant industry for 11 years now and love it. I'm just not sure that partnering up is the best decision for me, but it is appealing. What is your advice?

If you do partner up remember these 4 things:

1. A partnership is like a marriage and you need to understand it has a 50/50 chance of breaking up so you really need to have a very clear partnership agreement. You should cover things like how the business will be valued, who buys whom, etc.

2. You might be partners in ownership, but a ship can only have 1 captain. You have to decide who is the boss and live by it. Any good company has an organization chart and every person knows what their job is.

3. Make sure your values match. If your goals and values are different, then the business will not survive and you and your partner will differ on too many decisions.

4. Set a time limit on how long you will be partners and then choose again. Usually 5 years is a good time to set a goal to build the business and at 5 years you can decide again.

Partnerships are very hard. They usually don't work and if you can do it on your own, then do it. Hire people, go to classes, read books, get yourself a business coach and learn the aspects you need to.

Write your business plan and invest a few months in doing it. Show it to as many good business people as you can, get their feedback, and then take the next step.

Best of luck,
Brad Sugars

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