5 things to consider before entering a business partnership

Ask yourself these important questions to see if you're ready to take the plunge into ownership.
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May 23, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

Many veterinarians dream of someday owning a practice. If you’re an associate veterinarian who’s considering starting up a new practice with another owner or two, you should carefully consider the risks and rewards, says Polly Black, director of the Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University.

Since a startup business is often an all-hands-on-deck situation, you’ll have the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the business right away—which makes it appealing and exciting. However, there’s some risk involved, so ask some questions before making the leap, Black says. Here are the five most important things to consider:

1. Passion. Do you have a real passion for what you and your peers are doing? You will likely be working long hours, so you need to love your work.

2. Financial stability. What kind of financial backing does the practice have? If it’s already in business, is it profitable? How is it sustainable?

3. Chemistry. Do you fit well with the people? With startups, it’s all about the team and working together.

4. Market need. Can the business leaders articulate the market need they’re meeting with their services in a sentence or two? If not, that may indicate a lack of focus and clarity that could result in the business going nowhere.

5. Experience. Will you be included in meetings and decision-making? How much autonomy will you have and are you comfortable with that?

The opportunity to be innovative and the freedom to come up with new ideas can be appealing, but do your homework before signing on the dotted line. See the related links below for articles on practice ownership.