Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What to look for in a business partnership

Just like a marriage, a business partnership is a joining of two people working towards a common goal, sharing the same values and vision before it can move forward. These partnerships however, can take a variety of forms, ranging from joint ventures to long term commitments. Here are some tips on what makes a strong business partnership:

Sharing a common vision: It’s extremely important to define where you envision your business to be. Ask yourself questions such as; what type of clients do you want and what kind of service/product you’d like to offer? If your vision of the company is different than that of your partner, you will encounter problems down the road. To avoid this, sit down with your partners and discuss where you see the business heading. Ask yourself, what drives you and excites you about the business? Do not leave the table until you’ve come across an agreement.

Know what you bring to the table: Make sure that your partner has a skill set that is complementary to yours. By having an honest discussion on both your strengths and weaknesses, this will help you understand if both of you can create a successful partnership or require someone to fill in the gap.

Create both individual and company goals: Start creating company goals and then your individual goals. Your individual goals should support company goals. By measuring and holding each other accountable in achieving them, you should have no problems in being committed to the long term success of the company. It is also important that you meet on a weekly basis to review the status of your goals and discuss any challenges that may have come up.

Nip problems in the bud quickly: Like any marriage, partners will argue. To make it a successful partnership, what’s important is how you resolve those issues. Instead of letting a problem or an issue affect you or fester, make sure that you immediately discuss them with your partner. By meeting regularly to discuss this, everyone can address their concerns, create a plan to solve it, and find a resolution quickly.

Create accountability: This is the most important aspect of any business partnership! One of the major issues between partners is a lack of clarity around job responsibilities. Without clearly defining your tasks and responsibilities, there will be some confusion on who is actually running the business. So ask yourself these questions: Are your tasks and responsibilities clearly outlined? Do you know what your job is, what you’re responsible for and how you’re measured? All tasks should be clearly defined and assigned. Make sure that they support the long-term company goals and should also include clear metrics that measure the success of the job. This will measure your progress and help you be accountable to yourselves, to each other and to the business.