Going into business with a partner can be exciting as you both have dreams of what your successful enterprise will look like. Your business partner may be a smooth talker and it can be easy to trust that they have the same values you do. Sadly, some business partners are expert liars, and their actions can lead to the commission of crimes such as embezzlement and fraud. The following are some red flags to look out for that your business partner is being dishonest.
They cannot answer a direct question
While an honest person may provide a truthful answer to questions asked, a dishonest person may skirt the issue or even outright lie. If they lie about their activities in the business enterprise it may be a coverup for illegal acts they are taking for their own benefit at the detriment of the business itself.
They avoid accountability
All business partners have an obligation to make decisions and act in the best interests of the business. This involves making decisions based on due diligence research and goals. If your partner is misrepresenting financials, keeping secrets or making other claims not based on due diligence it could be a coverup for illegal activity.
Jumping on ‘hot’ opportunities
If your business partner is eager to jump on a “hot” opportunity without performing the right research it could be a sign they are acting in their own best interests. Manipulation of details to exaggerate the momentum of an opportunity can obscure illegal activities such as fraud or embezzlement.
Overreliance on prestige
Sometimes a business partner will use their prestige to cover up wrongdoing. For example, just because they hold a high office at an educational institution or are a media darling does not make them honest. In fact, a smart person may be able to hide their illegal actions to the detriment of other partners and the business itself.
All of this is not to say that all business partners are ultimately dishonest. In fact, most partners act in the best interests of the business. Still, it is good to be aware of behaviors that could indicate dishonesty, as this dishonesty could lead to or cover up white collar crimes. Sometimes it is important to tread carefully to ensure your partners are working for the best interests of the business rather than their own greed.