When you take a look at some of the most successful businesses over the last few decades, you’ll often see that they were created by partnerships. Just consider Google, Microsoft, and Apple, to name a few.
While it doesn’t always take a partnership to build a global venture that lasts, having a solid relationship with a cofounder can really make all the difference when it comes to long-term success. Having a partner means more support, more ideas, and more skills and experience are brought to the table — but only if it works out.
If you’re keen to create a lasting partnership for your next or current business, it’s important to go about it the right way. Read on for some top tips you can follow today to help you make sure your professional relationships are as successful as possible.
Select Your Partners Carefully
The first step to take to make a partnership work long term is to carefully consider those people you choose to partner with in the first place. To do this, it pays to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each potential partner so that you can work with people who have different skills sets and experience to you. In the best partnerships, each person brings something different and important to the table, and as a whole everyone becomes stronger together than they are apart.
Look at what you are good at, as well as what you enjoy doing, and then try to partner with people who complement you. Don’t just focus on the most obvious strengths of each person though either; often you’ll find that everyone has some underlying assets that they should bring to a business and utilize more. Once all of these have been identified, spend the time discussing them as a team to work out the best ways to apply these skills to the business.
Next, it is advisable to designate roles to each partner so that efforts don’t overlap, and so that nothing gets overlooked. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than finding out that you and your partner have both spent time working on the same jobs, or that something important has not been done because you each thought someone else was going to handle it. If there are areas of specialization that none of the partners can tackle, make a plan to hire a contractor or other person to handle them if need be.
Before the business launches, take the time to define the roles of each partner explicitly so that everyone is very clear about exactly what tasks they should and should not be handling. While these positions may vary a little over time as the business grows and develops, putting some boundaries in place to start with will certainly help to make each person more productive, and will help to avoid conflict.
Communication Is Key
Of course, no partnership can ever truly thrive if communication isn’t a priority for each person involved. You should all be clear on how you want to communicate (e.g. in person, over the phone, via email etc.) and how often you need to discuss business matters.
To make sure you keep open lines of communication, it is a good idea to set a recurring time of the day or week when you can chat about any potential problems or suggestions which arise. This will help to ensure that discontent never has the chance to fester, which will in turn have long term benefits for the business. If everyone has the opportunity to air their grievances as they come up, rather than letting them get blown out of proportion, you are sure to develop a healthier partnership.
Be Clear on Goals
Lastly, partners in a venture should always sit down and discuss their short-term and long-term goals up front, before a business is formed, as well as at regular intervals once things are up and running. Having these chats will help everyone to see if their goals are similar and compatible, and if the same ideas around the organization’s vision and mission are shared. Remember too that each person should be clear not just on their hopes for the business in general, but also their personal goals around finances and lifestyle.
Talking about goals, the vision and the mission will also help everyone involved to identify any potential problems earlier on. For example, if one person has the dream for the business to be franchised at some point so that there are outlets all around the country, while another person wants to focus on retaining ownership and building up a single outlet, this could certainly cause some major issues down the track. The sooner these potential conflicts are brought to light, the better for everyone involve