Spend lots of time together. The more time you spend together, the better you will be able to judge how you might work together. Take a long trip together; traveling is stressful and you will be able to see how each of you reacts, how you deal with decisions under stress, and how you like being together for long periods of time.
Learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You may want to consider taking a Strengths test or a personality test, to learn more about each other. If you find differences, that’s great. If one partner is great at managing the finances and the other is a terrific marketer, you can see that the business will benefit. The more you learn about each other, the more you will be able to tap into those strengths and prop up each other’s weaknesses to create a stronger practice.
Create a partnership agreement. Every joint business needs a strong written agreement. The agreement can be written by the partners but it should be reviewed by an attorney to be sure you aren’t missing anything. Decide who will do what on a daily basis and how you will divide partnership profits and losses. Determine how you will deal with conflicts or cases where one of the partners is not doing his or her fair share. Figuring out all of the details before you begin practice will take the stress out of your practice and keep your friendship intact.
Create a buy-out agreement. Things change, and the partnership you thought would never end will inevitably be broken up. It might be that one of you wants out, or that a family situation causes one partner to leave the area. Or maybe one of you is disabled or dies. You need to have an agreement in place from the beginning that includes agreements on all of the “what ifs” that might happen. Having a buy-out agreement in place will keep the inevitable changes from destroying your friendship, your finances, and your practice.