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The Four Real Rules For Taking On A New Business Partner

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By: Jack Garson | December 3, 2019

Entrepreneurs rush into business marriages like lost souls who find “true love” at Burning Man. Seriously, what could go wrong? A lot

Your business selling vintage sneakers has reached mania levels of fame and fortune. You’ve got lines around the block of your storefront and bidding wars for your rare Nikes and curated Chuck Taylors. Wannabe influencers crash the place for selfies and walk out loaded up with merch. Then, one day, HE walks in. Even without the NBA jersey, the model on each arm or the half-court dunks, you know he’s THE ONE. It’s mutual. The Rookie of the Year wants to take a chunk of his signing bonus and partner up with you—future Entrepreneur of the Year. Both of you are hearing wedding bells.

Seriously, what could go wrong?

A lot.

Entrepreneurs rush into business marriages like lost souls who find “true love” rolling on Molly at Burning Man. You both hastily sign a profoundly inadequate contract that forever shackles you to a dude you hardly know. Yeah, it could be true love. Orrrrrr…you find out your eternal partner is a…psycho or at least Dr. Incompatible. To quote the Oracle (a.k.a the Talking Heads): “This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no fooling around.”

Don’t hitch the fate of your business to somebody just because they’re charming (at first) and loaded. This is the real business world. Easy is hard and simple is complicated. Dig deep. Be selective. Document the deal. Plan for the worst and work to avoid it. It pays.

Real Rule #1: The First Date

You need to figure out whether you and your prospective partner share the same values and goals. Patience. Listen—instead of waiting to talk. Don’t say what you want in a partner. Let them tell you what kind of partner they want to be. And don’t ignore what you don’t like. I repeat, don’t ignore what you don’t like. I repeat… Either you get it or you don’t.

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ABOUT JACK GARSON | 240.507.1744

Jack Garson’s practice focuses on Real Estate, Construction, and Business law. He serves as a legal advisor for numerous local, regional and national companies, focusing on business, commercial real estate and construction law. In addition to providing legal counsel, Jack serves as a strategic advisor and negotiator for many clients, providing guidance on issues such as the growth and sale of businesses, liability and risk reduction, hiring and retention of key personnel, protecting and enhancing profitability, and negotiating the resolution of complex commercial disputes.

Jack has successfully negotiated commercial transactions, ranging from the purchase and sale of multi-million-dollar businesses to the structuring of nine-figure construction contracts, and the sale and leasing of commercial properties throughout the United States.


Offit Kurman, a full-service AmLaw 200 law firm with offices throughout the East Coast and in Southern California, serves dynamic businesses, individuals and families. Founded in 1987, the firm’s 280+ attorneys counsel clients across more than 30 areas of practice. Offit Kurman helps maximize and protect business value and personal wealth by providing innovative and entrepreneurial counsel that focuses on clients’ business objectives, interests and goals. The firm is distinguished by the quality, breadth and global reach of its legal services and a unique operational structure that encourages a culture of collaboration.