A partnership is commonly formed where two or more people wish to come to together to form a business. Perhaps they have a common business idea that they wish to put to the test or have realised that their skills and talents compliment each others in such a way that they might make a good business team. Forming a partnership seems like the most logical option and, in some cases, it is. In this article, we will discuss the various advantages and disadvantages of a partnership business.
- Capital – Due to the nature of the business, the partners will fund the business with start up capital. This means that the more partners there are, the more money they can put into the business, which will allow better flexibility and more potential for growth. It also means more potential profit, which will be shared between the partners in the proportions as agreed by them.
- Flexibility – A partnership is generally easier to form, manage and run. They are less strictly regulated than companies, in terms of the laws governing the formation and because the partners have the only say in the way the business is run (without interference by shareholders) they are far more flexible in terms of management, as long as all the partners can agree.
- Shared Responsibility – Partners can share the responsibility of the running of the business. This will allow them to make the most of their abilities. Rather than splitting the management and taking an equal share of each business task, they might well split the work according to their skills. So if one partner is good with figures, they might deal with the book keeping and accounts, while the other partner might have a flare for sales and therefore be the main sales person for the business.
- Decision Making – Partners share the decision making and can help each other out when they need to. More partners means more brains that can be picked for business ideas and for the solving of problems that the business encounters.
- Disagreements – One of the most obvious disadvantages of partnership is the danger of disagreements between the partners. Obviously people are likely to have different ideas on how the business should be run, who should be doing what and what the best interests of the business are. This can lead to disagreements and disputes which might not only harm the business, but also the relationship of those involved. This is why it is always advisable to draft and register a deed of partnership with Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms during the formation period to ensure that everyone is aware of what procedures will be in place in case of disagreement and what will happen if the partnership is dissolved.
- Agreement – Because the partnership is jointly run, it is necessary that all the partners agree with things that are being done. This means that in some circumstances there are less freedoms with regards to the management of the business. Especially compared to sole traders. However, there is still more flexibility than with limited companies where the directors must bow to the will of the members (shareholders).
- Liability – Ordinary Partnerships are subject to unlimited liability, which means that each of the partners shares the liability and financial risks of the business including any consequence resulting from the actions of other partners, which can be off putting for some people.