The gorgeous couple was backlit by a neon ombre sunset, the orange hues reflecting off the whitecapped Mediterranean. Staring adoringly at each other under the chuppah hand-painted by the groom’s grandmother, they committed to a joyous life together in the presence of their exuberant family and friends. Though there was Israeli military present, this was no shotgun wedding. Their decision to enter into the covenant of marriage was informed not only by their obvious, giddy love but also by the counsel of their rabbi and of the tenets of their abiding faith. Such foresight is the foundation of a relationship that will survive the test of time. Not all entering into assignations, romantic or otherwise, are so wise.
The nascent stages of a relationship are flooded by optimism. Business partners have wild dreams of overwhelming success, of being feted on magazine covers as entrepreneurs of unequaled brilliance. New couples are so dumbstruck by attractions cerebral and physical that the thought of minor discord, let alone major quarrels, is inconceivable. Willfully blind to potential pitfalls, we often end up plotting a course straight for disaster. It is not until we are lying amidst the detritus of the wreckage that we realize the precarious path upon which we embarked.
Surely, these outcomes are both understandable and unintentional. In the excitement of a new venture, the rational mind is overwhelmed and prudence is abandoned in favor of the sheer momentum of the initial idea, of that first chance meeting. Caught up in such a strong tide, the parties fear pushing back against it, do not think or have the courage to test it for weaknesses, lest it dissipate like a wave that crashes too far from shore.
The remedy for this common and unfortunate malady is one I often prescribe: honest and thorough communication. It does lovers little good to only show their best side, to gloss over the questionable traits that we all have in favor of concealer proverbial or literal. Sooner or later, that bad hair day or intemperate outburst will come to the fore. It is better for all if it happens earlier, so that each partner can evaluate if it is something with which he or she can live. If that information does not surface until months or years hence, then the schism will be that much more damaging.
From a corporate formation perspective, it is critical to have the difficult conversations early. It is all too easy to scheme for the good times and extremely distasteful to consider the worst case scenarios. It is imperative that one seek outside financial and legal advice or, at the very least, the input of a disinterested third party to help craft a detailed plan for the various phases of the company’s existence, including its potential dissolution. People that enter into a partnership on a handshake and a supposed understanding that all will be well are, unfortunately, naïve to the realities of modern business and of the slings and arrows that turn affable partners into vicious adversaries.
Spend the resources financial and temporal to get things dialed from the quick. Better to spend a day and a modest sum to create a sound foundation for the business rather than years and a king’s ransom to extricate oneself from the quagmire of a failed endeavor. Do not be pennywise and pound foolish. It may be cliché, but history has proved the worth of such maxims.