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Ask Dave

No Joint Ownership For New Business

Find out why Dave tells Beatrice that clarity and communication are vital when going into business with family.

QUESTION: Beatrice and her mom want to start a restaurant food consulting firm. They are debt free and wonder if they should do a sole proprietorship or partnership, or whatever. Dave tells her why clarity and communication are as important as anything here.

ANSWER: I would not do any form of partnership or joint ownership. You’re asking for trouble there. Have written guidelines so there is clarity and communication in the relationship. You need that in business, and even more so when dealing with friends and relatives. I think trying to get an appointment with the owner is the best way to get the word out about your business. Be careful, though … a restaurant is like a child to a small business owner, and you’re almost calling their kid ugly by telling them what to fix. Rather than saying we notice what’s wrong, say we see what types of things are found, and we’ll tell you how to fix them, and we’ll follow up in a few days.