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Two's Company

Partnering up? Know what you're getting into first.

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This story appears in the March 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Business partnerships can be complicated, just like romantic ones. The sins (and debts) of one partner can afflict the other, and even the tightest contract won't protect you from an incompetent colleague. So before you start negotiating any partnership, take these three key steps.

1. Double-check your decision to take on a partner. Be straight with yourself. Are you looking for expertise, money, contacts or just someone to compensate for your weaknesses? Make sure your prospective partner is really bringing something to the party.

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