Virtually everyone has been in involved in personal partnerships through dating or marriage. Far fewer have been involved in professional partnerships such as business co-owners.
It's worth mentioning that the failure rate of personal partnerships exceeds fifty percent. We don't have hard data on the failure rate of professional partnerships, however we suspect it is every bit as high as that of personal partnerships.
Actually when you think about it, wouldn't it make more sense for professional partnerships to have a higher failure rate? Don't personal partnerships have a stronger motivation for success than do business partnerships?
In business partnerships the main motivator is wealth generation, although many others factors play into the quality of the relationship. Obviously in personal relationship it is a hodgepodge of emotions and benefits that may include companionship, religion, money, love and children. And if it so happens that your personal partner is also your business partner, it can all get very complicated.
This article is written for those of you who are either in or considering a business partnership. I am going to share seven tips that will help you create a winning partnership.
Over the last several years I have helped partnerships smooth over the rough patches. Along the way I realized that these seven tips consistently made life better for those involved.
TIP ONE: Accept that the work is not always divided equally, even in fifty-fifty partnerships.
One common theme in partnerships that are not working revolves around what the other partner(s) are not doing and what the complaining party does more of. Often this jealousy revolves around the investment of money and time or the distribution of profits. I have listed some partnership toolbox tips to help you in your business relationship.
It is not productive to sit around and spend your time mulling over all the ways a partnership seems unfair to you. I assure you this will be a frustrating and non-productive exercise. Instead think about what you can contribute to the partnership.
There will be times when one person works harder than the other. Isn't one reason to be in a partnership to support each other? If you read one of my recent Blog posts it is a thank you to my partner Ron who has written eighty-five consecutive newsletters. Even though I believe he is a better writer than I (as you are about to discover), it wouldn't be fair if Ron was the only one burdened with the task of coming up with new topics and writing newsletters in a short time-line. Hopefully, you will enjoy my newsletters on his rest weeks. The point is that we support each other.
TIP TWO: Decide what strengths you bring to the partnership and what you can do improve the endeavor as a whole.
Before Ron and I decided to be business partners we had many conversations with each other and within ourselves. Truthfully neither one of us was considering a partnership. However, all those meetings pointed out that our styles mesh well and, after much discussion, we discovered that our "contractor solutions" were nearly identical in context and priority.
Ron and I do not have a formal agreement. Eventually we will have one but today we have something much more important. Open, honest communication! Yes we agree on most things but not everything. How we disagree and have give and take is important. We try to never get bogged down by the little stuff. We know this endeavor is not about either one of us but rather the team that we build.
TIP THREE: Always have open and honest dialogue!
Ron and I also have a tremendous amount of respect for each other. Sometimes lack of mutual respect diminishes partnerships over time. If it has, you can work to bring mutual respect back. I suggest all partners make time to create a set of core values that everyone in the organization can believe in. And it starts with the partners setting the example. Establishing these core values is the first step in repairing respect between parties.