In today’s ever changing rapidly evolving business world, doing business alone is not the best thing to do.
Now, there are thousands of books out on how to go about finding the best business partner, or how to build a business partnership. They are all probably good. But, as is my style of doing things, I’m not going to take you down the road of long winded sentences with a trillion footnotes and quotes from a lot of dead people. I’m just going to share how I went about making the partnerships I have made in hopes it helps you.
Tough World Out There
Since leaving the corporate world in 2004 I have had a number of business partners in a number of different business ventures. As is in any business endeavor, many partnerships do not work out. Still, attempting to do something that can’t be done as a single business identity, or my yourself, is heading for certain failure.
Fortunately, after a few miserable failures at partnering with the wrong people I finally got around to establishing a few partnerships that have worked. What I found to work for me maybe could help you as well.
How to Tell Who to Partner With
Think out why you feel you need to partner and what exactly would a partner do. If your business personality has a strong analytical base and is weak on marketing savviness then you probably would be looking to partner with someone weak in analytical or operations and strong in marketing.
If your skills at a trade is not as strong as your business management skills then you are probably looking for someone who can perform the trade very well, but has weakness in running their business.
Look to match your weakness with someone’s strength and make sure your strength in business is matched with their weakness. This forms the best base for a partnership, but still is not enough to say it will work.
How Sound Are the Businesses
Once you have done your homework on determining who would be a good partner make sure to then look at what each business identity does and then look at what it does not do. What does it do well and what does it not do well. is the product or service they provide still something consumers want or need.
If you are a good listener it is easy to tell by just having a simple conversation with the principles of the business on how well their business is doing.
Test Their Character
I always like taking a potential or prospective business partner out for a round of golf..even if they don’t know how to play golf that well. A number things develop on the golf course that has nothing to do with golf. Golf breaks down any barriers a person has that conceals their real character. How someone acts on the golf course will be amplified in the workplace.
In a business partnership you need to establish a trust and to see if the partners of the partnership can be trusted. Once that is out of the way, about 80% of the formation of a partnership has been formed.
Next is to be direct. Tell the owners of the business you are looking to partner with someone for whatever the real reason you feel you need to partner. This gets the ice broken and either moves towards something happening or stops a mistake from happening. Many times business people feel trapped into getting the feeling having to partner and will take the first person they trust and will say yes.
Always Sleep On It
Think out the partnership before moving forward. Using the old adage of Sleeping on the deal is a sound way to go about finding out if the partnership is the best thing to do. Sometimes it feels good, but just not going to work. However, many times, that feeling of it not going to work could be just indigestion from the steak you had after the round of golf. So, make sense out of the feelings and make your decisions and choices of partners through using logic.
Time Will Tell
I have found from my 9 years of business coaching that over 80% of the partnerships I deal with are heading for failure. This is due to the partnership being formed out of desperation to keep one or both businesses afloat financially. Many times a business model has a flaw that no partnership will ever help survive. It could be time to face the fact that it is time to change the business, not bringing someone else’s business down by partnering with them.
Go for Success Not Failure
For the 20% I found to succeed the key reason the partnerships work is each partner trust in the other partners to do what they say they can do. Trust plays a huge factor in forming a partnership.
My advice, is when you find it is time to start looking for a solid partner to go into business with, you make a tee time and play some business golf. This has worked over 88% of the time for me and for the businesses I know who tried it. I have found the investment I made in learning to play golf has been returned many times.
Let me know how I can help.