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We haven't started our business, but my partners want compensation. What should I do?

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Ethics in Business mentor Jeffrey Seglin responds to the following question from an inc.com visitor:
I'm starting a company with two partners. Because I'm about to leave my present employer and live in a separate city, they've been working more than I have (writing the business plan, scouting office locations, etc.). Now, however, they would like to be compensated for their efforts. Is that reasonable?

Jeffrey Seglin responds:
Going on what you've written, I can't see why your two partners expect payment. If you had all agreed on compensation up front, then, yes, it would be understandable. But, based on what you've written, that doesn' t sound like the case.

You might use this opportunity to step back and assess your relationship with your two partners. If there's building animosity over people not pulling their weight, you may nip it in the bud by making clear what you expect of each other going forward. And of course, it would be good to lay out specific ground rules concerning compensation to avoid future disputes.

Related resources at inc.com:
The Art (Not Science) of Picking the Right Partner
Partners on the Edge

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