Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate
Learn How To Start Investing In Real Estate

15 Questions To Ask A Potential Business Partner

Written by Than Merrill
| Reviewed by JD Esajian

Building a successful real estate team often starts with finding the perfect business partner. In some cases, investors may even search for a partner to help with the process of starting a business.

The right business partner will differ for every real estate entrepreneur. Some investors will prefer a passive partner, while others will prefer taking on a more active role. Some may want a seasoned executive who brings time-tested ideas to the table, while others may prefer a newbie who is eager to learn the ropes.

Forming an ideal business partnership will depend on your management style, personality, goals, and vision for the future. You’ll want someone who shares your values, challenges you to grow, and ultimately, someone who will boost the business’ bottom line.

So how do you go about finding the right business partner? Read through our partnership questions below before attending your next networking event; they might help you find what you are looking for.

[ Thinking about investing in real estate? Register to attend a FREE online real estate class and learn how to get started investing in real estate. ]

partnership questions

How Do You Attract A Business Partner?

Finding the right business partner is crucial to creating a successful deal. You will want to ensure that your business partnership will help you achieve the highest level of success possible. Luckily, there are measures you can take to attract the right partner.

  • Choose The Right Target: You need to consider how each party’s goals for the business partnership will be mutually beneficial. This will help you understand if your goals align and if your partnership will help you reach them.

  • Build A Pipeline Of Deals: Not every business partnership opportunity will be right for you, so you should take time to evaluate all of your options. Do your research and compile a database of multiple potential business partners that can then contemplate working with you.

  • Build A Relationship On Multiple Levels: The more relationships you can establish with members of a business, the better. If you spend time getting to know multiple members of the business you wish to partner with, you will have an easier time speeding up the deal process.

  • Introduce With A Shared Connection: A good way to build trust with a potential business partner is through a shared professional connection or a mutual interest. Try to find a commonality between you and a prospective business partner to find a shared connection and give a better first impression.

  • Make Terms And Negotiations Simple: The terms of your business partnership will help both parties understand what is expected of them. However, keeping them simple and to the point will help negotiations move quickly. Try to limit the terms and negotiations to create a respectful and professional relationship.

The Five D’s of Business Partnerships

There are five important items that you should include in your documentation and partnership contracts, and these are called the “five D’s of business partnerships”. These can be tough issues to discuss as they are quite personal and drastic, but they need to be discussed up-front and planned for. The Five D’s of Business Partnerships are as follow:

  • Death: What happens if one of the partners dies? A life insurance policy is usually used here in combination with a buy-sell clause.

  • Disagreement: A minor disagreement can come up often in business partnerships, but there needs to be a plan in writing for when a disagreement comes up that no solution can be agreed upon. Possible solutions could include one partner getting to make the call, or that one partner can buyout the other partner’s share of the partnership.

  • Debt: The issue of debt can come up when one of the partners declares bankruptcy. Possible solutions to this can be one partner taking over the other partner’s financial responsibilities as well as voting rights, or bringing on the old partner’s creditors as your new partner.

  • Divorce: Divorce isn’t only an issue that needs to be brought up in relationship-led partnerships. The issue of divorce also needs to be talked about because a partner may lose half of their stake in a partnership via divorce with their romantic partner. This needs to be planned for in advance.

  • Disability: Disability is what happens when one partner can no longer contribute to the partnership due to a disability or injury that occurred. You will need to have a plan in place in case this happens, as the split of profits and voting power may change.

Finding A Business Partner: 15 Business Partnership Questions

Finding the perfect business partner will take hard work, dedication, and a clear head. Keep in mind, you will be spending a lot of time with whomever you choose to be your partner, so it is crucial that you selectively weed out substandard candidates.

The key is to find someone with a skill set that compliments your own. In other words, find a person whose strengths are your weaknesses. Ask every potential partner you are considering these 15 questions to get a better overall understanding of their business skills, financial history, and personal preferences:

  1. Have you been in a business partnership before?

  2. How do you handle a crisis?

  3. What is your communication style?

  4. What do you see this business looking like in five years?

  5. Do you have a preferred exit strategy?

  6. What is your current financial situation?

  7. Would you consider yourself frugal in terms of spending money?

  8. Are you a risk-taker?

  9. How much capital do you plan to contribute to the business?

  10. How do you expect to divide profits?

  11. What motivates you?

  12. What is one personal goal you are currently trying to achieve?

  13. If you didn’t have to work, what would you do?

  14. What do success and failure look like to you?

  15. How much time are you willing to commit to the business?

business partner

Business Development

Much like a job interview, your first topic to discuss with potential business partners should be past job experience. You need to determine how long they have been in the industry and if they have ever worked in a business partnership before. Each of these answers will give you a glimpse into their management style, work ethic, and level of dedication. Here are a couple of business-related questions to help you get started:

  • “Have you been in a business partnership before?” Find out if they have ever taken part in a joint business venture. You want to know the positives and negatives of any past business partnerships so you can move forward most effectively. Essentially, you are asking for their past job experience and how well they worked with others during that time.

  • “How do you handle a crisis?” At some point in a business, there will be a time of conflict or even a crisis. Before going into business with someone, you need to know how they have handled these situations in the past. Ask what their temperament is in stressful situations and get an idea of how well they work through problems.

  • “What is your communication style?” Communication is key to a successful business partnership. Look not only at their answer but also at their approach to meeting with you. Are they direct about scheduling? Do they prefer text, email, or phone calls? Get to know these details now to save yourself time in the long run.

  • “What do you see this business looking like in five years?” After you have spent time learning about each other’s past business experience, it’s time to take a look at future goals. Have you already decided what kind of business you want to run? What short and long-term goals do you have for it? This is an excellent way to get on the same page before you make a concrete business plan.

  • “Do you have a preferred exit strategy?” What factors would lead to an inability to stay in the partnership? Answering this question will help you anticipate worst-case scenarios and decide how to proceed should anything happen. This will be important as you incorporate your business and start drafting contracts.


Next up: it’s time to gauge their money mindset. To find a successful business partnership, you need to share the same attitudes about money, or at the very least, balance each other out. You also need to know who is bringing what to the table and how profits will be split. Financial questions may not be appropriate straight out of the gate, but always set aside time to talk money before going into business together. When you’re ready, review the following financial questions with your potential partner:

  • “What is your current financial situation?” You both need to know what kind of capital the other is working with. This will inform how you approach start-up costs, lenders, and future investments. Inquire about their existing portfolio and any outstanding debts; and, be prepared to share this information about yourself as well.

  • “Would you consider yourself frugal in terms of spending money?” Spending habits impact more than just investment decisions; they also come into play when calculating operational costs. Ask if they are good at keeping a budget and if there are any spending areas they know they could improve on. You don’t need to know their day to day spending to make an informed decision, but you do need an idea of what you are working with.

  • “Are you a risk-taker?” There is nothing wrong with a healthy amount of risk; however, if you work with someone who has a completely different tolerance than you, things may not work out. Find out if they consider themselves to be a risk-taker and ask for examples.

  • “How much capital do you plan to contribute to the business?” Some business partnerships are funded almost exclusively by one partner, where others split costs 50/50. You need to be very clear on this even before you get into the legal elements of starting a business.

  • “How do you expect to divide profits?” Similarly, you also need to discuss how profits (and losses) will be distributed in the partnership. As I said, it can help to establish some ground rules before you begin any legal processes.


Shared values are at the core of any successful business partnership. Even if everything else seems perfect, there will always be a disconnect when making big decisions if you have different values. You need to spend time getting to know what motivates, inspires, and drives the other person before committing to a business agreement. These components will provide insight into how well you two will work together and how you will handle the inevitable obstacles of being a business owner. Try the following questions to ask a potential business partner to get to know more about each other:

  • “What motivates you?” Perhaps the most important factor when starting a business is identifying the “why” behind what you are doing. If you are going into business with a partner, you need to be on the same page about what motivates you. While your exact motivation could be different, you should know the driving force behind the business.

  • “What is one personal goal you are currently trying to achieve?” The best entrepreneurs are constantly searching for ways to better themselves. This is one of the most telling questions when figuring out how ambitious and driven someone is.

  • “If you didn’t have to work, what would you do?” While it may seem like a simple “get to know you” question, this can also reveal someone’s true passion. Ask away to learn where they would prefer to spend most of their time. Depending on the answer, it can either serve as a motivator or as a distraction.

  • “What do success and failure look like to you?” Get on the same page now about successes and failures and thank me later. You need to know what they consider a challenge or a win, so you know how to handle these situations.

  • “How much time are you willing to commit to the business?” Not every answer needs to be the same between business partners, but at the very least, you should know what to expect. Figure out their preferred time commitment before entering a partnership where you feel like you are doing all of the work.

business partner questionnaire

Do You Actually Need A Business Partner?

You do not need a business partner to become a successful business owner. In fact, many real estate investors choose to start their businesses alone and instead hire employees as needed. The benefit of this strategy is that you are not sacrificing ownership of your business. As the sole business owner, the business plan, financing, operations, etc., would all be determined by you.

That being said, the value of financial support or business wisdom that a partner could bring to the table can be invaluable, especially if you are breaking into the industry with little capital or experience. In these cases, a business partnership could be the most beneficial way to get started. While a business partner is not a necessity by any means, some investors find this working relationship to be a crucial component for their businesses.

Preparing A Partnership Agreement

A partnership agreement is the foundation of any good business partnership. This legal document can help both you and your prospective partner get on the same page, officially, about every aspect of the relationship. Reach out to an attorney to draft an agreement that reflects the terms you have agreed on. Do not forget to include responsibilities, ownership shares, how to buy out another partner, and how to end the agreement. A qualified attorney will typically recommend any additional areas you leave out, the more comprehensive the better. While you will need to pay for working with an attorney, this is the best way to ensure both you and your partner cover your bases legally.

Ending A Business Partnership

The process of ending a business partnership can be simple or challenging, depending on the way the business was set up. If you took steps when creating the business to determine how assets would be divided should the partnership end, it is typically a matter of following the appropriate legal steps. If there was no mention of a potential dissolution, you and your business partner will likely need to seek legal counsel early to determine how to proceed. Business partnerships end all the time, seek out an experienced team to work with to help you navigate the process while protecting the company and your finances.


The most important thing to remember when finding a business partner is that the process takes time. This is not something investors should rush, no matter whether they are starting from scratch or bringing someone into an established business. If you’re asking yourself, “what questions should I ask a new business partner?” then you should know that there are countless. The best partnership questions will make sure you are both on the same page. Review those listed above, and be sure to prepare your own responses as well. After all, you are not the only one evaluating the partnership.

Ready to start taking advantage of the current opportunities in the real estate market?

Click the banner below to take a 90-minute online training class and get started learning how to invest in today’s real estate market!