Professional Development to Avoid Business Partner Mistakes
There's a lot to be said for going into business with someone. A wider skill set, more contacts, encouragement, creativity, support, camaraderie, shared risk – you name it, good business partnerships can provide it. But what about when things go pear-shaped? Forbes Magazine suggests that 80% of partnerships go their separate ways and there are all sorts of reasons behind this statistic; from arguments over money to different ideas about the direction of the business – even ongoing irritation can end a business partnership! To help you be the best partner you can be, we've listed 6 business partnership mistakes to avoid.
Not having clear expectations
It's crucial that you start any new partnership on the right foot, with both parties full informed, fully prepared and fully committed to the same vision for the business's future. Without this kind of clarity, you could find yourselves pulling in different directions or not delivering the standard or quantity of work expected by the other – a shortcut to tension and conflict.
One smart way to avoid this kind of problem is to draw up a document together, before your partnership gets underway. This document should outline your direction and your expectations. In plain English write down the kind of relationship you intend to have with your partner, what roles you will both play and how you will both contribute to the success of your enterprise. This is not only a good exercise for ensuring you and your partner are on the same page, it's also a good basis from which your lawyers can draw up partnership agreements.
Blue sky thinking
“Oh it will all be fine!” “Whatever happens we'll deal with it rationally, like grown ups, there's no need for a lawyer!”. This is a very naive approach. Anything can happen and, with your business on the line, it's important to seek legal advice from the get-go.
Not doing your homework
A stitch in time saves nine. If you can head any potential partnership problems off at the pass, you can save yourself and your business a lot of headaches further down the line. Before you go into business with anybody, whether it's with an ex-colleague, a friend or a complete stranger, do your homework and perform due diligence. Use free company checking services like RM Online to delve into the business background of your potential partner. Tools like this can flag up warning signs such as CCJs and insolvencies, or give your future partner a clean bill of financial health to help you make an informed decision about who you work with.
Doing it all your way
If you're new to partnerships, it can be difficult to relinquish control to your partner. However, learning to trust their abilities and to delegate is a key skill. Not only does it take a lot of pressure from your plate, it also shows your partner that they are a valued and trusted member of the team whose input is crucial.
Not airing dirty laundry
It's easy to let petty resentments simmer and escalate in high-pressured start-up situations. Getting a new enterprise up and running can be a very stressful experience and it's only natural that you will find yourself in conflict with your business partner from time to time. It's important that both of you can be open and honest about your thoughts and feelings. Make time to talk over any issues you both have, listen carefully and take care not to point the finger. You'll both feel better for getting problems off your chests and finding solutions together. Above all dont air the dirty laundry on social networks.
Annexing your roles
If you and your partner undertake markedly different roles in your business, don't allow what you do to become your own private domain. Every major task you undertake will have big implications for your business, which is why it is so important for both partners to be in to loop about all significant tasks, whether or not they fall in their particular sphere of expertise. Investing in project management software can be a good way to ensure transparency, while a regular scheduled meeting in which you discuss what you will be doing is also a good way to keep each other involved and informed with key decisions and activities.
Have you had bad experiences with business partners in the past? Perhaps you have the perfect business partner right now? Share your experiences and thoughts below!