A guest post -
Where one strong mind by itself can work wonders, two, working in tandem, can work miracles. If the relationship is done right, joint partnerships have the potential to take your business over the top and deep into the black. But joint partnerships can be tricky if they aren’t handled right. Here are ten tips to help you create the magic of a joint partnership that truly flourishes.
- Skills That Complement Each Other: Try to find a partner with skills that don’t overlap your own but instead complement them. If you prefer organization and accounting, look for a partner who will love meeting clients and being the face of the business. The most successful joint partnerships feature multiple individuals with unique sets of skills that complement each other and fit well together to create a complete whole. If you like being in control, bringing on board another person who likes being in control will only create conflict. Instead, find someone who is comfortable with allowing you to be in control.
- Relatively Secure Financial Background: It is usually unwise to pair up with a partner who has a shaky financial background. Doing the bulk of the heavy financial lifting while your partner only seems to tag along for the ride can get old fast. Make sure your partner is able to contribute his share of the finances to help start up your joint enterprise and that he doesn’t have any glaring financial monsters in his past that may come to stand in the way of your business’ future success.
- Equal Motivation: If you are a driven person, try to find a partner who is equally driven. Although there are exceptions, motivation is usually a quality that is hard to drum up if absent. If you find that you always have to drag a partner around by their hair or if you are always getting dragged around by a business partner who is more motivated than you are, your relationship and partnership will wear thin fast. Partner up with someone who has a similar amount of drive and enthusiasm as you, and you will both be happier.
- Similar Goals: In much the same vein, the goals of your partner and yourself must be somewhere in the same universe in order to create a successful joint partnership. There are many different kinds of goals, but at least when it comes to business goals, it’s best to find a partner with whom you are able to find some common ground. As long as you both are on the same page as far as the direction in which you would like your business to go, varying individual goals can more easily be tolerated.
- Shared Business Vision: Once you find a partner who has similar goals to yours, you must then make sure that they wish to go about accomplishing those goals in a similar manner. Two partners with similar goals and a similar vision for accomplishing those goals are practically unstoppable. Obviously you will both want your business to prosper, but if one of you wants to franchise and the other wants to sell the company to Microsoft, you may not be the best match for each other.
- Mutual Trust: Trust is supremely important in any successful joint partnership. You can’t work with someone who you don’t feel you can trust. A lack of trust will only create fires in the workplace and roadblocks to the success of your company. The importance of the trust factor is why so many successful partnerships are made up of brothers and sisters or husbands and wives. People who trust each other implicitly make much better matches, work much better together, and have much more success as a partnership.
- Job Roles: It’s important to define clear job roles for each member of the partnership so that nothing gets overlooked. It’s even a good idea to write down the roles that each partner will be expected to fulfil in order to maintain the highest degree of clarity. When you write down the responsibilities that each of you will be expected to perform, it helps to avoid frustration, disappointment, and the tragedy of crucial tasks falling through the cracks. Don’t operate under false assumptions about your partner or your business. Even if your partner is the primary salesperson, he may still expect you to bring in at least some business. When the job roles are clearly defined, each partner will then be accountable to each other and to themselves.
- Strategy for Handling Disagreements: Even the most successful joint partnerships will eventually and occasionally have disagreements. Make sure that these don’t turn into arguments or grudges by setting in place from the beginning a strategy for handling disagreements. The best partnerships are those that handle frustrations and disagreements effectively, wisely, and without any feelings getting hurt. Tailor your strategy to your strengths and the strengths of your partner so that both of you can come out of disagreements having made the right choices and feeling closer to and more trusting of each other.
- Communication: Often the only way to avoid bad feelings and disenchantment with your business partner is to have plenty of regular communication. If one or both of you is not the communicative type, it may be best to schedule regular times for communication so that the lines are forced to stay open. Having a communication session once a week or even once a month will allow you to bring up to your partner anything that may be on your heart about him. It will also allow him to address any issues he may have with you that he may be shy about bringing up on a regular business day. Don’t let your joint partnership deteriorate to the point that it becomes difficult to communicate with your partner, but schedule regular communication sessions right from the beginning.
- Break-up Plan: Even if your business ends up lasting your entire lifetime, it’s still wise to draw up a separation plan right from the beginning just in case. A break-up plan for a business partnership is much like a prenuptial agreement for a marriage. It will help you to both be on the same page about what will happen in the event that one or both of you wishes to terminate his involvement in the joint partnership. A break-up plan can help to give both of you peace of mind about the business even when it is going through a rough spot, as you will have a firm exit and asset-division strategy in place.