Entrepreneurs, whether while starting up a new business or expanding their existing business, like to, want to or have to work with people, associates, and friends or with someone whose business sense they can trust. The reason is simple, that is, to mutually leverage each other’s ideas, style of work, skills, mindset and time with cooperation and teamwork. It is essential that we understand that making associations with a right set of people bring security, and stability; however, a partnership, if done with a wrong person, can prove to be disastrous to the extent that you might eventually have to sell or shut down your business.
When I look back at my journey of being an entrepreneur, the one major factor that has always played in my mind while associating with someone has been the trust. I ask myself whether I can trust him/her with my millions or not. If there’s even an element of doubt, I do not proceed further with the partnership deal. After you answer the above question as “yes”, the only primary concern which is left is how to make the partnership work for you and the other one. Through this article, I would like to share a few means by which you can create a win-win situation in your business partnerships and make it work for both of you.
Seek common objectives and work towards them
Find a ground of commonality where you both want to work. Be honest about your requirements and put it on the table. And make sure that your potential partner does the same. It will help you visualize clearly about the common goals for which you both can work. It will also be beneficial in setting up the right tone from the onset as you both will come to know about each other’s weaknesses. Then, look into the prospect of whether the partnership boosts yours and your partner’s vision. The partnership will work best when shared values are met with passion and excitement.
Setting up mutual benefits
It might sound obvious, but common objectives need to reap mutual benefits as well. Otherwise, there’s no point making a joint strategic plan. These expectations need to be put forward explicitly so that your potential partner can know what kind of deal he is getting into.
Building a similar working style
There is something I have learned being an entrepreneur over the years which is that we are always small adjustment away in reaping much better results. Making a minor adjustment without sacrificing your core culture is very critical in framing a working style which is more or less similar to the potential partner’s working style. When you come up with similar work ethics through negotiations, it brings out mutual cooperation as well as sends signal to your partner that you’re ready to work with him and accept him as your partner. You will get the same signs from him as well.
Agree to disagree
I have often seen that people get into strategic partnerships because they do not value their brand and often lose posture in the deal and subsequently in the business relationship. Remember, we all are humans and can have our disagreements over an important issue. That’s the time when you need to make a call whether to compromise or walk away from the partnership. Nobody is robbing someone by disagreeing. If the matter is substantial enough that it does not seem viable to work further together, then it’s better to end the partnership than force yourself into something which is not working.
Protect yourself being in partnerships
A major lesson that I have learned over the years is that in business, nobody is your real friend but you. I have seen real blood betraying each other over the issue of sharing profits and other benefits. So, always document whatever the deal is and bind the agreement legally protecting yourself from potential theft and providing some flexibility for yourself as well as your potential partner to exit the partnership if necessary.