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Bringing on a Business Partner? Avoid This Common Mistake Having a business partner can be invaluable. Having the wrong--or no--partnership agreements can be disastrous.

By Ann C. Logue

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In both business and romance, the early stages are filled with starry eyes and optimism. Nothing can possibly go wrong--but if it does, the partners will face it together. In real life, however, things are rarely that neat.

One fundamental error made by many startups is failing to have essential business documents and agreements in place from the beginning. Partners often hold off on putting key terms in writing because in the early stages, when everyone is enthusiastic and in sync, they can be loath to interfere with the thrill of getting a new business off the ground. But having basic partnership or incorporation papers that outline each party's roles and obligations, as well as other agreements more specific to the type of business, is key to preventing problems down the road.

Axcient's Justin Moore
Axcient's Justin Moore