You should also discuss financing, business structure and location, other contributors, insurance and tax implications, valuing the company, and the possibility that one partner might want to step away from the business in the future.
Conflicts often arise from feelings of unequal contribution and defensiveness about underperformance, says Ray Parsons, 59, chief executive of Transcepta, a procurement and accounts payable platform that he co-founded with three partners.
“These are living, breathing documents,” says Levi, who advises partners to have an open discussion as things change and restructure compensation if needed.
In a service business, some partnerships are structured more like an office share, where expenses are shared equally but profits are divided based on the business each person brings in and manages.
Often, it helps to separate whether an idea is a good one from how resources will be allocated to make it happen.