‘One Monday morning I got to work and there was nothing there. I mean nothing. The chairs, desks, files and computers were all gone. I first thought we had been robbed so I called my business partner only to find out that his phone was disconnected. Alarm bells went off. I immediately phoned the bank to find out that the account was cleared out. I was devastated.’
No one wants to experience a failed business partnership. Research shows that irrespective of the duration of the partnership, it can take anything from five years or more to recover financially and emotionally. Research has shown a number of similarities in the lifecycle of business partnerships that we can all learn from. Here are a few tips to consider.
Top five tips when considering going into partnership
- Look at your network for prospective partners.
- Be honest about your expectations, commitment, expertise, time etc.
- Spend either a long weekend together or work on a project to determine whether your working and communication styles etc. are in sync.
- Undertake personality tests to check whether you will work well together.
- The more forthright the partners are up front, the greater chance of success the partnership will have.
Top five tips for successful partnerships
- Find the right partner for you and the business (see above for tips).
- Have a contract that covers more of what will go wrong and actions to be taken in those instances.
- Each partner is equal in the partnership irrespective of roles and the contract should take cognizance of that.
- Establish clear roles for each partner which are focused on a common goal.
- Develop honest, clear, stick-to-the-issues communication and active listening between the partners.
Top five lessons from failed partnerships
- A number of people lost not only their business but also their homes, cars etc.
- The partner who instigates the breakup underestimates the value the other partner provided.
- Irrespective of the previous relationship with the business partner, the relationship frequently does not recover from a failed business partnership.
- They weren’t well prepared – didn’t have a contract or the contract was biased in favour of one partner.
- What happens afterwards? This question was an impetus for revolutionary change for some and for others it was harder to resolve and move forward.
If you would like to share your experiences or know more email firstname.lastname@example.org