Whether an informal pairing of two people or a coming together of two small companies to make a greater one, a partnership requires some basic attention to detail to ensure success.
Partners Share the Pitfalls and the Power
Entrepreneurs generally want to run the show since they are the primary person who is “on the line”. When there are two of you, as in a partnership, you have to be prepared to share the control, since you are also now sharing the responsibility.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Honestly assess your own strengths and weaknesses of what you bring to the company and make sure your would-be partner is the yin to your yang, balancing those traits. Be honest with yourself to ensure company success. Be sure your potential partner has done the same and is as mentally ready to merge as you.
You’ll Need a Written Agreement/Plan
Whether it’s a formal or informal partnership agreement, you should next write down a working agreement of who is going to do what in the company. Build a plan of action and write an outline describing details of activities, expectations, and responsibilities of each party. Legalize this for formal partnerships.
Make Your Code of Ethics
Ethics between partners are at the root of any good business pairing. The “golden rule” here is to “be the kind of partner with whom you’d like to partner.” And the more risk involved in the company, the more strict and important are the ethics.
Deliver More than Expected
Particularly while you are growing your combined business and learning to work together, it’s important to develop trust in each other. The best way to do this, and coincidentally a great boon to the company, is to deliver more than expected. Finish your tasks early, go the extra mile with them, burn some midnight oil. If both parties are performing like this, a bond of iron will be forged between them and the company will prosper at all of the incredible attention.
Communication is Paramount to Success
If troubles develop between the two of you, don’t give in to anger or frustration. Discuss amicably (and outside of the view and hearing of the employees) what your issues are and try for a peaceful resolve. Faulty communications are the primary reason why partnerships fail, so don’t let things go too long. You may need to revisit the original written agreement together to point out where things have gone off track. You might need to revise it in light of changes in the direction of the company. If it doesn’t work out, you can try to buy out your partner but avoid taking them to court. It’s too costly.
Celebrations of significant achievements are important within a partnership. They strengthen the bond that was originally forged and supply a boost of positive karma to the business, a reminder that you are doing what you set out to do. So really celebrate when something comes through the pipeline and if you can spread a little bit of the celebration through the entire company, that’s even better.
Source Material: Geoffrey James “9 Ways to Forge Better Partnerships”Inc.