A Small Business Idea That's Shot

Carla says her husband and one of his best friends want to start a side business together and grow it into a full-time business. They know a partnership isn't the way to go, but the friend doesn't understand why.

QUESTION: Carla in Amarillo says her husband and one of his best friends want to start a side business together and grow it into a full-time business. They know a partnership isn’t the way to go, but the friend doesn’t understand why. They would be working side by side since they need each other to make it work. Dave warns Carla that this is going to go badly.

ANSWER: I would not, under any circumstances, do this as a partnership. This is going to go badly. This is how people get in trouble.

If they are both firearm experts who want to start a business like that, they don’t need each other. It’s just two old boys wanting to hang out with each other. That’s all right, but they don’t need to start a business together. They absolutely don’t. There’s no point in this whatsoever.

If one of them wants to grow the business and then hire the other one because they’ve got too much business and can’t do it, or they have a really big class one day and one of them needs to come in that day and help the other out, that’s fine. But one guy can conduct a fairly good-sized class; they do that all the time. But that’s a long way from opening a business together. They do not need each other.

They can even help each other out. If one of them is out of town one weekend and has some clients to pitch to the other, they can do that.

If they run it together, what’s going to end up happening very quickly is someone is going to have a level of expertise in teaching and in marketing and work ethic that the other doesn’t have, and they will get very tired very quickly of carrying the other person along. That’s what happens every time. The only ship that won’t sail is a partnership.

I think they don’t need each other, but if they want to work together, do it on a spot basis. See what kind of work you can get in there and work it together for a little bit, but don’t start a partnership so no one is trapped in this deal and has to carry the other who shows up late and doesn’t stay late or doesn’t work or all the other stuff you’ve got to do. You can smell the trouble on this a mile away.