Every business relationship has that critical point of no return where you decide if you’re going to go all in and partner up with someone or run for the hills screaming. Here are 4 warning signs to avoid saddling yourself to the wrong person.

It’s an all-too-common mistake when launching your first business to partner with the wrong person. I’ve had my fair share of winners and losers and can tell you from the jump that no matter how great the person looks on paper, these warning signs should have you re-considering before signing the dotted line.

Top Four Partner Deal Breakers:

1)   People who don’t like talking to others.
Look: if you’re shy, that can be worked around. It might actually end up being a lot of fun to get you out of your comfort zone… whereas if you genuinely ‘don’t like talking to other people’, it’s just not going to work out. I don’t care how good you are at getting numbers done… business success is about talking to other people.

 2)   Anyone who doesn’t recognize the value of experience.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with young, driven and inexperienced… but you need to respect and value those who made it across the terrain and lived to tell the tale. If you think it’s all tech, image and status, you’re dead wrong. There’s a lot of insight to gain from experience.

 3)   Anyone guided by a desire to “get rich” without any real deeper purpose.
I know people change but I have very little patience to deal with individuals who are only interested in personal gain. More to the point, it has been my experience that people like this rarely have the passion and drive to follow-through and bootstrap the deal if need be. They are coasters. Because people who have a bigger reason, they just don’t quit. 

4)   Overly timid individuals.
No offence to those analytically minded, but if you can’t take action and you want to talk through every little detail, there’s almost no point (I’ll call you when I need my taxes done).

I’m not saying I can’t wait to work with some headstrong character who wants to lose money without doing their homework, but, once we run the numbers and do the research, the dance is over and it’s time to seal the deal.

Bottom Line? 


Most people want to start a business with a partner. It’s an initial impulse to the sheer amount of work involved and can be motivating. The trouble is, you might seriously regret making that 50/50 partnership. Your best bet? Look for part-time employees to help out first, then seek out partners.