I'm looking for some hopefully seasoned and experienced advice on this. My business is currently a sole-propriatership. In starting the business I had a very good friend who was also starting his own business help me with some design and web stuff that was beyond my capabilities and understanding. His web design company caught on pretty much right away and he's done quite well for himself. My business which is much more of a niche marktet, has taken about a year to really gain any traction of it's own. My friend and I have talked very candidly about combining the two sole-propriatership businesses, or having some agreement where I have a stake in his and he in mine. There are not very many friends I would want to enter into this sort of relationship with but with him I would. I'm looking for any thoughts on two aspects of this: 1. What is the proper way to do this? What are the terms - if we go 49/51% so that each guy still 'owns' his each company, is that how all profits are split up? What percentage should the company keep of profits in order to grow? 2. My business required investment into equipment to provide our services. So the business currently has about $14,000 in debt right now. I make a small living off of the business right now and am trying to pay that debt off as quickly as I can as it is tied to my personal finances because of the business being a sole-propriatership. So in bringing a partner into the picture, do I: Wait until debt is paid off? The thinking being that without anyone else to pay - it allows larger payments to the debt, it goes away faster, also saves money on interest. Bring him in right away and although the dept takes longer to pay off, and part of the profits go to someone other than me, the business gains his expertise and abilities. It would also be important to note that he helps me out quite a bit on little things here and there but it's only when he has free time and it's last on his list (as it should be) and sometimes that holds up the development of new services that I can offer to our clients. Also taking into account that I contract his services for the majority of our jobs anyways, it's just not quite as much as if he was getting paid as an 'owner'. I think my company would benefit from having him be a part of it more so than his company benefiting from me. But I am struggling with giving away part of the business as I wanted to do it by myself - even though I'm finding that I actually need him in order to have good products and services support and development. But I also don't want to give up the money because I want to get my personal finances in order first, which is finally a possibility now that the business is actually rolling on it's own after a number of years of my wife and I living with a VERY low income level. Anyways, hopefully that gives you enough of a background and info to weigh in on this. Any thoughts or opinions are extremely appreciated on this as I want to make a wise decision on this, and I don't really have any business mentor's in my life. Thanks!