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Business Partnerships - 2 Tips on Staying Connected

Business Partnerships - 2 Tips on Staying Connected

"Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate

, but through being the right mate". ~Barnett R. Brickner

Does selecting the right partner guarantee you will have a successful and long-term business partnership? If only it were that simple!

Business partnerships are often compared to marriage. I think the above quote is particularly relevant and on target for business partners who want to create a successful and sustainable partnership.

One way to "be the right partner" is to make sure you schedule time to work on the relationship and partnership, not the business. For most business partners it's not the lack of communication that's a problem. Rather it's the topics that are ignored in their communications. They are usually communicating about some aspect of the business several times during the day...the new client just signed, the troublesome employee, cash flow projections, etc.

It's rare however that business partners will set aside quality and consistent time to connect on a human level with each other. Great partnerships require nurturing and an investment of time in the relationship.

To be the right partner:

Be aware of the stresses your business partner is currently facing

Ask about his or her children, spouse, parents...and really care about the answer

Take the initiative to schedule time offsite for fun activities together (tennis, golf, walk on the beach)

Be open and honest about any personal situation in your life that may impact the business

Be clear and forthright about your needs, expectations and vision and understand those of your partner

Tip #1: To build a lasting business partnership, stay connected with your partner by investing the time in the relationship.

"Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas". Donatella Versace

If you and your business partner have disagreements, does that mean your partnership is in trouble? The answer is...it depends. In healthy business partnerships the partners have learned how to have disagreements and how to bring out differences in opinion to arrive at the best solution.

Most likely, a few of the reasons you entered into a business partnership included, the need to bring in a different perspective, to be able to bounce ideas off of someone you trust and respect, and also to share in the risk of major decisions. The irony is - the first time your partner does have an opinion different from yours, you question your decision to bring her on in the first place. "Really, what does she know?!"

Learning how to create a "conflict of ideas" in your relationship with your business partner is important to the success of both your partnership and your business. One of the most dangerous traps for any business to fall into is the one of groupthink. A simple definition of groupthink comes from Wikipedia:

"Groupthink is a type of thought within a deeply cohesive in-group whose members try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing and evaluating ideas."

Have you ever found yourself agreeing with your business partner because it just wasn't worth the energy to "argue"? Or has your business been stalled because of a stalemate on a particular decision that has not been made because you cannot come to agreement with your business partner?

In my experience conducting business partner "interventions" over the years, I usually come across two extremes. On one side of the spectrum, the partners are fighting all the time. Their differences of opinion have morphed into the individual need to be right and make their partner wrong, rather than arrive at the best decision for the business. On the other side, one partner has essentially shut down resulting in passive agreement and pent-up resentment.

Cultivating "healthy disagreement" in your conversations with your business partner is vital to staying connected in the relationship, but also to the ultimate success of your business.

Tip #2: Learn how to disagree

Business Partnerships - 2 Tips on Staying Connected

By: Barri Carian
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