Partnerships in business can be tricky. Frankly, most partnerships fail. However, the ones that succeed can achieve much greater levels of success more rapidly than if the same individuals went after the same goals alone. I have had some amazingly spectacular failures with partners And over time have learnt to be careful in choosing a partner. Below are some ideas that help to guide individuals in building successful partnerships.
1. Values – This area is usually the most critical factor that affects the partner relationship. Everyone has their own set of values, but some are more self aware than others. What are your top values and just how committed are you to those values? Everyone typically agrees that certain values are important, but if you had to narrow down your list of top values to one, which value would you choose? Conflicts are not usually started because someone is right and the other is wrong. Instead, both parties have different views and values. The same goes for conflicting values with partners. Eventually, you will probably have to choose between two values, and it is better to know the reason why one is more important than the other. You must have these values prioritized ahead of time so that you are able to temper your emotions during a difficult situation and not get wrapped up in the moment. Partners must share common values and live by them to engender mutual respect.
2. Common Goal – To avoid competing interests and disagreements, partners should determine what their common goal is for their venture. One assumed goal is to make a profit, but how much profit will each of you expect to make? Also, only shareholders will be motivated by a profit goal. What shared goal will motivate not only shareholders but also customers and employees? What will be the guiding purpose of the venture that you both desire to accomplish? A devastating mistake is to blindly work together without deciding upon where it is that you are going. Without a destination, any path will get you there, and that path may be a treacherous one.
3. Commitment – What competing priorities are there in each other’s lives that could impact the level of commitment towards the common goal? Someone that will whork nights and weekends day in and day out may experience conflict with a partner that shuts his work down at 5pm to have dinner with his family. The partner may feel that the other partner is not carrying his or her own weight. However, the difference does not necessarily have to be a situation that adversely affects the partnership. Although beneficial to have high levels of commitment, partners do not need to share the same work schedule to affect a successful partnership. At a minimum, the partners need to communicate what their level of commitment is for the venture so that there is mutual understanding and no animosity.
4. Expectations – There is a saying in business that in the end, self-interest prevails. What do each of the partners expect to get out of the partnership? Be honest! If your self-interest involves your ego, say so! One of the most important lessons is to set a limit on the amount of time that you are going to work with each other. At the end of the agreed upon time frame, have a plan to evaluate your partnership. Create an exit strategy if the partnership has run its course. You will save a lot of heartache if both partners agree in advance on the appropriate way to renew and/or exit the partnership.
5. Financial Position – Be careful when choosing a partner that has a great deal more experience or much deeper pockets than you. Obviously, it is beneficial to have a partner that can lend financial resources and experience to your venture, but beware – if a partnership sours and breaks apart, he that has the most experience will get the money, and the less experienced will get the experience.
6. Complementary Strengths – Two minds are most always better than one, and a rope of two strands is strong. List out what strengths each partner possesses and then determine how well they match up. If one partner likes building relationships while the other likes building systems and technology, then those strengths together could make a better whole.
As a business owner, trying to do everything yourself is impossible. Finding someone who understands your goals and wants to help you work toward them is invaluable. However, making certain that you and your partner are on the same page is imperative. Take the time to have brutally honest discussions about your values, goals, strengths, finances, and expectations. Develop a clear strategy by which to evaluate your partnership on a quarterly basis. Following these simple steps will give your partnership the opportunity to be successful.
As always, do not hesitate to ddrop your comments and thoughts in the comments section below not drop me an email to me at [email protected] and I will be happy to get back to you as soon as I can. Shalom and have a blessed week.