How to get in Sync with Your Business Partner

Teamwork | Partnership | Business PartnerBusiness partnerships can be a tricky thing, whether you know the person well (see my Huffington Post article on How to Run a Successful Business With Your Spouse) or found your partner through networking or other business opportunities. Sometimes we are thrown into these partnerships by an opportunity that is too good to pass up and while they may not all be the ideal pairings we need to be able to make the relationships work in order to have our businesses be successful.

Real Life Example:

A friend of mine recently told me about a partnership she entered with two other professionals to put on a free speaking series about their health related businesses. The goal was to educate the public while increasing exposure for each of the individual business. After two months of planning, multiple conference calls and nitpicking by one of the other speakers, my friend felt stressed over the event. It was taking more time than she had anticipated out of her already busy schedule. Everything from the posters to the invitations went through multiple rounds of edits. The nitpicking partner was in charge of promotion. Instead of focusing on exposure for the event she spend most of her time lining up a videographer to record the event and having professional head shots of herself taken so that she would be able to promote herself. She assumed the “if you build it, they will come” mentality about the actual event. The day of the event not a single person showed up.

What went wrong in this partnership?

Any new business relationship needs vision and boundaries. It is imperative that partners know what their individual visions are and how to mesh these into a vision for the company or event you are planning.

I encourage my clients to complete a simple exercise when entering any new venture:

  • Take 30-60 minutes each to write down your visions for the partnership.
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • What are your goals?
  • Where would you like the business to be in five years?

Then take turns sharing what you wrote with your business partner. If your visions are similar, great! If they’re vastly different, talk it out and compromise until you’re both on the same page.

Other things to consider during the compromise stage:

  • How is communication working?
  • How are resources going to be allocated?
  • How is the pay structure going to work?

This exercise could change the trajectory or your business relationship greatly. Maybe you aren’t meant to be 50/50 partners; maybe you should try out a joint venture prior to forming a full on partnership.

From this unified vision, create shared objectives for what you want to achieve in the business that you can both be inspired and excited about. Whatever you do don’t enter the relationship until you’ve defined the roles and expectations for each person, this will save you stress and time down the road.

If you need help with this process, I have created a 5 step plan that will walk you through the process of creating a successful partnership and successful relationship with your partner. Just enter your name and email to get FREE access to this process and a FREE worksheet to keep you on track.

Do you have any tips or stories about partnerships you’ve entered in the past? I would love to hear them in the comments below.

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