If you’re serious about supporting yourself through investment or some kind of business venture, then you’re going to have to enter a partnership at one point or another. These can take a variety of different forms. They may be a long-term legal commitment, or simply a short venture to test out a theory. Whatever you want out of it, here are some tips for partnerships that start and stay strong.
Start Off with a Shared Mission
In any venture that’s intended to be profitable, it’s essential to set out a clear mission from the very start. If all the brains involved in the partnership aren’t aligned towards the same goals, then there are certain to be problems. Obviously, the motives for both you and your partner have a fair chance of being different. The methods and individual milestones, however, certainly don’t need to be the same. You might want to reap the benefits of importing from China, and your supplier may want a good platform for introducing their product to a western market. However, you’ll both recognise the need for the product that’s being manufactured and trading hands. Formulating a shared mission and vision is essential as a first step.
Address Both of Your Needs and Expectations
As we touched on above, each party in the business agreement will have their own reasons for entering the partnership in the first place. This only becomes an issue when the respective needs and expectations aren’t directly addressed, and in turn aren’t met. Because you and your partner’s expertise, personality and motivation are going to be different, it’s essential to have this conversation before either of you commit to anything in a binding contract. It’s also important to consider the fact that individual needs and expectations can change over time. A set plan for modification and/or dissolution needs to be a part of the agreement as well. Let’s say that you’re running a small retail business, and merge your operations with another fledgling CEO. One of you goes through a bout of severe illness, and during that time one partner has to take care of the whole operation themselves. If, when the sick partner recovers, they lack the energy or motivation to settle back into their role, the lack of an exit strategy is going to be a serious issue.
Know and Utilise Your Strengths
Again, this ties in with your difference in motivations and expectations. Because each partner wants something different, it can be easy for one or the other to overlook certain strengths and assets in the other. The most obvious ones will be discussed from the outset. However, the underlying assets, which can make a huge difference to the success of the partnership, may not come to the surface. In your meetings, try to make sure that your partner is making the most out of everything they can leverage, and that you’re not neglecting anything that could help on your end. If your partnership seems to be reaching a plateau, it may be time to take a closer look at both parties.