Dave Says On Business "a Ridiculously Bad Mistake

Dave Ramsey

2/2/2013 12:01:00 AM - Dave Ramsey

Dear Dave,

My fiancée has a small photography business, and she wants to form a partnership with a college student who is majoring in business. I think this is a bad plan, but I’m pretty sure she’s not going to listen to me. What do you think about the idea?


Dear Bruce,

A partnership is always a bad idea. There’s absolutely no upside for her, and if you feel there’s nothing you can do to keep her from making such a ridiculously bad mistake, then you guys are going to have issues in your marriage, too. It sounds like she’s looking for emotional support combined with some business acumen. But that doesn’t mean she needs a partner, and she definitely doesn’t need one who’s still in school and has no experience.

If she feels like she needs help, there are ways to do it without turning this into a partnership. She could hire this person and let them share in profits while she owns 100 percent of the business. That’s not a bad idea at all. But she needs to stop and take a breath, because if she walks headfirst into creating a partnership with this person, she’ll most likely lose clients, then sections of her business and finally a friend. On top of it all, it will create marriage strife.

As I said before, partnerships are never a good idea. But this situation goes much deeper than business practices. You two must learn to listen to each other’s instincts and make decisions together. If you can’t do that, then you don’t need to get married. And by the way, this is not an issue about the husband being the boss. You should be willing to listen to that little voice inside her, too, when it says something doesn’t seem right!


Dear Dave,

I’m thinking about selling my business to a corporation. If I do this, I’d continue to work there for a couple of years after the sale. I’m not sure about the feelings I’ll have during this time, plus I worry about how the new ownership will treat my team after the sale. Do you have any advice for someone in this situation?


Dear Paul,

First, I don’t think you’re messing your team over or violating the principles of EntreLeadership by simply selling your business. The fact that you’re concerned about these issues tells me that you’re a quality person and a servant leader. Just remember, as long as you’re there—whether as an owner or just a leader—you have an obligation to look out for your team and do good things for them.

The big thing that scares me in this scenario is the next two years may be the most miserable of your life in the workplace. It’s tough seeing someone else come in and take over what you’ve built up over the years. You’ve poured your time and blood, your sweat and tears into this organization. It’s yours! You might even want to shorten the time you remain there a bit, if you’re certain this is the path you want to take.

But to tell you the truth, I’m not sure you really want to sell this business. There’s nothing wrong with turning down an offer, no matter how generous it may seem. Considering how much you seem to care about the business and the people, I’m just not convinced you’re ready to walk away. Now, if there’s something else you’ve got a burning desire to do, then I’d say go for it. I understand that kind of thing completely. But it’s a blast to have a job you love and looking forward to going to every day.

I’d take some more time to think about it, if I were you. There may be a big pile of cash waiting for you if you sell, but I can tell you’re concerned about your team and the amount of time you’ll be spending as an employee at the company you created and grew into a success. Use your heart and your head on this one, Paul. But if you decide to sell, I’d work things to where I had to spend as little time there as possible once the new owners take over. 


* Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.