Starting one’s own business is often perceived to be a daunting enterprise –and quite rightly so. After you’ve decided to be an entrepreneur and determined the type of business you want to operate, consider carefully whether you want to fly solo or rope in some partners. The latter is a highly tricky business (pun intended) – choosing the right partner requires skill. Here are some tips:

Choose people you can trust. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Nope, that ex-colleague you just reconnected with on Facebook 10 minutes ago doesn’t count. Choose close friends and family with mindsets and goals that are similar to yours. However, bear in mind that business conflicts have often caused families to become divided.

Think about why and what. Be sure why you are inviting someone to join you in your venture. Do you need company or capital? Make sure you realise what’s at stake – often, business partners turn into bitter rivals, and even enemies. Remember – the more partners you have, the messier it could be.

Put it down in black and white. Don’t rely on verbal agreements – go to a lawyer’s office, and draw everything up clearly. That way, certain facts can’t be disputed should you have a falling-out with your business partner(s).

Have a common vision. The business venture means everything to you – but your potential partner still wants to keep his day job. This arrangement may not work in the long run. Hence, make sure you and your partners are ready to invest in the same cause with the same level of commitment, and goal in mind.

Know your part. Be clear about how much money you and your partners are going to pump into your business, and stick to the arrangement – this will be vital should you decide to sell your company.

Be honest. If you’re unhappy about the way your partner is running the operations, speak up. Even if quarrels ensue, it’s better than letting things rankle, which will eventually cause rifts in your partnership.

Be prepared. Even if your capital is provided by a silent or sleeping partner, you need to stay alert to changes. For instance, he or she may pull out of the funding, or decide to play a more active role in your decision-making process.

Maintain good contacts. Because things change quickly in the commercial world, ensure you establish good relations with industry associates, and keep in close contact with them. Who knows, new ventures and partnerships could even be forged.

Be inclusive. Adopt a consultative approach when communicating with your partners. Discuss things with them when difficulties arise, and don’t make decisions without informing them.

Don’t do everything. Your venture may be your brainchild, but you can’t (and shouldn’t) do everything by yourself. Decide each individual’s role from the onset – this will lessen the confusion, cause less ruffled feathers, and bring better focus and results.