Hewlett and Packard. Sears and Roebuck. Johnson and Johnson. These names so quickly conjure up images of corporate success it's easy to forget they were once little more than two entrepreneurs and a dream.

Finding that second person to help build your business idea into the next household name is no easy task. A good business partner shares your vision and enthusiasm, bringing expertise in the areas in which you are inexperienced. It's someone who understands the legal and financial responsibilities endemic to sharing a business. Most importantly, it's someone with whom you get along.

Making the Right Choice

Partnership Basics
Read this article to gain a general understanding of the purposes partnerships serve and the different types of partnerships that can be formed.
Happy Together
Many business partnerships end in disaster. Yours doesn't have to.
Partnership: Advantages & Disadvantages
Is bringing on a partner the best way to grow your business? Weigh the pros and cons of partnership.
How do I find a business partner?
Inc.com mentors Paul and Sarah Edwards suggest prospective business partners "date first."
The Art (Not Science) of Picking the Right Partner
Business partnerships can be more emotionally taxing than you could ever believe -- after all, business partners usually spend more time with each other than their spouses. Learn from the disastrous example of two entrepreneurs who got off on the wrong foot.
What do investors consider an ideal team of founders?
Another thing to consider when bringing on a business partner: would this person be appealing to potential investors?

Financial Concerns

Happy Endings
It's a good idea to draw up the business equivalent of a pre-nuptial agreement before you go into business with someone.
Planning for Ownership Changes with a Buy/Sell Agreement
Your business can be thrown into turmoil when your partner divorces, retires, or dies. So it's a good idea to have a plan in place.
Family Partnerships Under Scrutiny
The IRS takes a closer look at a way business owners sidestep estate taxes.
We haven't started our business, but my partners want compensation. What should I do?
This might be a good time to step back and assess your relationship, says inc.com mentor Jeffrey Seglin.
Should I offer equity in my new corporation to a partner?
Two inc.com mentors offer their views on this crucial issue.
Two Partners, One Life Insurance Policy
You might want to consider buying a "first to die" insurance policy.

Husband-Wife Teams

Irreconcilable Differences
One married couple did everything they could to save their business when their marriage went belly-up -- but ultimately failed.
Tax Realities of Husband-and-Wife Proprietorships
The IRS makes it more tempting to set up a mom-and-pop business. But you need to know a little law to take advantage of the tax breaks.
Being in Love and in Business
A married couple who are in business together talk about the ups and downs. Plus, a list of resources and further reading.

Troubling Times

How To Work With a Partner (Year After Year After Year)
Strategies for creating a partnership that endures.
Surviving a messy partnership split isn't easy. But a Handful of this year's Inc 500 entrepreneurs have discovered the joys of going it alone.
How To Work (If You Must) With Your Spouse
The challenges of working with a spouse are many. Here's how to overcome them.
What should I do when a partner is lax about keeping the books?
Paul and Sarah Edwards, inc.com mentors, recommend considering hiring a third party to do the books.
Partners on the Edge
Two company founders came to dislike each other so much that they brought in a marriage counselor to help resolve their differences.
My partner is leaving my business. What's a good strategy for going it alone?
Running a One-Person Business mentors Paul and Sarah Edwards tackle what to do when your business partner wants out.
Edged Out
When partners at an Internet services business started to battle over key company decisions, their staff ousted them both.