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Happy Scum

By 440 Dana Mancuso]
Bigg Success Contributor
08-07-08

Life Skills

pm411_logo Have you ever had a disagreement about something you've heard? I often disagree with my husband about popular song lyrics. What he hears is close to the real words in most cases, but not always.

Sometimes what you hear is a direct result of what you've already heard. Sort of like expecting to get an apple from an apple tree. You've always gotten apples from the apple tree, so you aren't going to expect an orange to be growing there. You won't hear country music from the lips of rocker Bon Jovi. Or will you?

Back in high school, I was seated in a small group next to someone from my grade school. This boy had teased me in 5th and 6th grade. In fact, he had never spoken to me in any other manner than to tease me in my entire life.

So, when he spoke to me, not only was I surprised, but my brain turned on the teasing filter. Here's what I heard when he tapped my arm:

"Happy, Scum?"

What?

"Happy, Scum?"

Oh my god, he's calling me scum!

The sentence was repeated once more before I heard what he actually said, "can I HAVE a PIECE of GUM?"

My brain had already determined that anything coming from this guy's mouth was going to be negative at best, hurtful at worst–when all he wanted was some Dentyne. (I handed him the skuzziest looking piece of gum in the pack.)

I at least make an effort not to jump to conclusions. But my brain often does it for me before I can stop it. Sometimes I do it when reading an e-mail from a coworker. (She forgot a word in the sentence, accidentally changing its meaning.) Sometimes I do it when I get an odd look from someone (He doesn't have his contacts in so he is squinting a lot.) Everyone has heard the look before you leap cliché, but it applies so well to hearing in haste, as well as to acting in haste.

Next time you're about to turn on that filter, grab a piece of gum and chew it over a bit. 

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Before Going into Business with Friends, Consider These 8 Scenerios

One thing people often don't think about when going into business with a friend is the relationship itself. You’re going into business as friends. You want to remain friends.

Business is full of surprises. Discuss the possible surprises upfront, before you mix friendship and business, so you can keep your relationship strong while you’re in business.

You may think your friendship is really strong … and you’re probably right. But when you go into business together, your friendship will be tested more than it ever has been before. It’s wise to prepare for it beforehand, so you already have a lot of the answers when you’re in the middle of a tough situation.

Look at it this way – a business partnership is like a marriage. You need a pre-nuptial agreement! So find a good attorney to draw up an agreement for you.

8 “What if …” scenarios to discuss with your attorney

#1 – What if the business fails?
According to statistics, if the business fails, it’s most likely that no one will be owed any money. But what if that’s not the case – what if the business does owe money? How will you resolve that?

#2 – What if it succeeds wildly?
That may not sound like a problem, but you’d be surprised. Sometimes when a business succeeds at this level, greed enters in. Then comes the power struggles. Discuss the dream scenario upfront to avoid a nightmare.

#3 – What if one of you is incapacitated?
What if one partner is no longer able to do his or her part? How will the others handle this? Will this person get bought out? Is there formula for the price? There’s a lot to think about if this unfortunate situation happens.

#4 – What if one of you dies?
Obviously this is even more extreme than the last scenario. There’s the human side – your friend has passed and you’re grieving. But you also have business to attend to; work still needs to get done.

Many of the same questions from Scenario #3 apply here. But there’s more. For example, does the deceased partner’s family now have an ownership stake? Or do you buy them out?

#5 – What happens when one of you gets married?
Or you may already be married. What say does the spouse have in the business? Can the partner’s interest be jointly owned with a spouse or do you want to restrict ownership to your original group?

#6 – What if one of you gets divorced?
The business interest may be a significant asset. You probably don’t want a former spouse having a say in your business – even as a minority stakeholder. It can really muddy the waters, as the saying goes. What restrictions will you place on ownership?

#7 – What if one of you wants out?
How will you determine a price? What kind of notice will you require? What is the process?

#8 – What if one of isn’t pulling his or her weight?
How will you determine that this is case? What can, and will, you do about it?

These aren’t pleasant things to think about, let alone talk about. However, you’re more likely to find good solutions now when you’re thinking logically than to try to work them out in the heat of the moment.

We can’t stress this enough – get a good business attorney.
Then sit down with your partners and your attorney and work through these issues. Your attorney will probably have even more situations to discuss. Work through these issues before you start – for the sake of your friendship … and your business.

 

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