If we had read the books out in the market in selecting the perfect business partner for success, we may not have gone forward together with our business. In our case, the criteria we used to become partners were that we were friends and liked each other and were interested in starting an internet business. The fact that we were different was what attracted us to each other as friends, though those differences can add stress when building a business. The friendship is a great foundation but alone it is not enough to create a strong partnership.
Many new businesses fail because of the partnerships. Partners need to constantly tend to their working relationship to insure it is evolving, while handling all the issues that surface up when starting a new business. Sounds Simple!
We are now in business for over a year and have spent money on creating our website, marketing and advertising our business. Daily decisions are made around how to build this business. In reflecting back, since we didn't do any planning beforehand, we came up with these important points that help friends build a partnership together.
What are your values?
When starting a new business with a friend, it's important to know what each of your values are regarding the new business. Do you share the same vision for the business? Are your goals the same? With us, we worked this out each day, learning to recognize what was important to each of us. Communicate to each other up front as it a lot easier before disagreements surface.
What do you bring to the table?
How can your talents contribute to making the business successful? We learned through trial and error what each of our strengths were and how to best use them. What cements us now is that we have learned to appreciate our differences and we're using them to build a successful business. Ideally it would be great to recognize this right from the beginning as it saves on the wear and tear in building a new business.
What outside resources are needed?
Choose your resources wisely. You need a team surrounding you. Find business mentors and legal, accounting and marketing professionals to guide you in developing your business. Their expertise is critical to your success. The temptation may be to find more friends to partner with. This is not your best resource unless these friends bring in specific skills that you need. Among friends, alliances can form and create unnecessary havoc for the business.
Do you have a passion for learning?
On the internet rules change with lightning speed. To succeed, you can't be overwhelmed by change. You must embrace it and constantly learn to grow. The more you learn, the easier it gets to move forward and keep the business growing.
How important is listening?
Use your listening skills always. Be willing to listen to your partner even when you don't agree with him/her. This has been quite a challenging effort sometimes! If you are open to your partner, you can communicate with respect, and that's what enhances the business. Partners must remember that it's the business that's important – not the friendship. Keep in mind there are 3 entities in this partnership: the 2 partners and the business. It must always be about the business, not the partners’ egos or feelings.
How do you get all the work done?
It's important to know who is doing what … and making sure it gets done. Creation of monthly task lists and accountability are critical. Each partner should be responsible for those tasks that interest her or that she has experience in. The less popular tasks should be shared equally. It is up to your partner to keep you honest and make sure you meet deadlines. No one can drop the ball! Put hard work together with excitement and you have a great team.
What's most important in keeping the partnership going?
Acknowledgement. It is so important that you respect each other – above all. Always appreciate what each person brings to the table. We all want to be valued and feel we are contributing to the success of the business. Partnerships thrive when each member provides honest, positive feedback to the other. A simple “thank you" or “you did a great job" does more to build the business than anything else.
Communicate … Communicate … Communicate!
Copyright (c) 2006 Pat Brill
Pat Brill is co-founder of http://www.SilkBow.com which supports Busy Moms with free gift ideas and helpful tips to meet the challenges of motherhood. SilkBow is the perfect place for the perfect gift. To contact Pat, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org