Forming a great business partnership is not an easy task. Like in the dating world, when you first meet people, they’re often eager to show themselves in the best light, which means that picking the right person for you becomes a lot harder. Other than picking the right person, you also need to learn how to set boundaries, as well as establish and nurture a healthy professional relationship. With that in mind and without further ado, here are seven tips for building a business partnership that you need to hear as soon as possible.
1. Look for the same vision
The first thing you need in order to build a lasting business partnership is to find someone who shares your vision. A lot of people make the mistake of finding someone who shares their interests; however, interests (in the business world) are universally the same – growth, profit and success. When it comes to the vision, however, this is often more unique, due to the fact that it’s more individual, even intimate. It’s about the journey, rather than the end goal. So, talk to your partners about your aims and aspirations in order to check if you see eye to eye.
2. Exercise transparency
The next thing that’s necessary for a lasting business partnership is trust, and the only way to build trust is through transparency. You see, sharing your piece of mind when it’s pleasant, inoffensive or complacent is a simple thing. What you need to do is learn how to be the bearer of bad news and tell your partner what they don’t want to hear. Still, you don’t have to be blunt, and there’s nothing wrong with being a bit more… well, tactical when it comes to your phrasing. This is also important, seeing as how you need to check whether you’re entering the business world with someone who shoots the messenger or buries their head in the sand when things get ugly. Naturally, it also goes the other way around.
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3. Put everything on paper
While trust and verbal agreement may often be romanticized as the cornerstone of the business world, what you need to do is put everything in writing. This means that you need to make a contract by which you determine ownership and clearly define your roles in this enterprise. Lastly, provided that things don’t go as intended, which is something that happens quite often, you need to have a solid and effective dissolution plan. As soon as this is set in order, you can proceed with your partnership.
4. Show your appreciation
One more thing you should keep in mind is the fact that respecting your partner might require you to go beyond mere words. For instance, getting them a birthday gift is something that’s not required from a business partner, but it’s still a nice gesture. Providing them assistance with their professional tasks (without being meddling or doubting their capabilities) is also a great idea. For example, imagine a scenario where your partner is going to Christchurch for a meeting with important clients. Getting them a car rental at Christchurch airport would take a minute of your time, but to them, it would be a major sign of appreciation.
5. Maintain great communication
Another thing worth mentioning is the fact that communication tends to be vital for success in the business world. First of all, you need to have a clear line of communication with your partner. Having each other’s emails is not enough, and you need to communicate via a call or an IM service of your choosing. Having a sit-down at least once per week is also a great idea. Even more importantly, you need to have these talks in private. Even if you have your disagreements, to the outside world, you need to look like a unified front.
6. Strengths and weaknesses
Previously, we’ve discussed the importance of dividing your roles. Well, this thing is a lot simpler to pull off if you and your partner have similar strengths and weaknesses. This will allow you to complement the weaknesses of your partner with your own strengths and have them do the same to you, in return. So, this needs to find its spot on your list of requirements when choosing a business partner.
7. Show some support
One of the things you need to understand about your business partner is the fact that they’re probably the only ones who know exactly what you’re going through at the moment. This is due to the fact that their fate is tied to your enterprise in a similar way and the fact that any success or failure might rub off on them in a similar way that it does to you. This is why some support on your part might mean a world to them, even if you don’t have a well-developed personal relationship. Keep this in mind when going gets tough.
As you can see, a lot of these tips (if not all of them) are applicable to any kind of relationship in your life. When choosing someone who is going to have this kind of impact on your life, you need to be extra careful. Moreover, you need to give them the same kind of respect and attention that you hope to receive in return.