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Top 10 Tips for Better Business Partnerships

There is no secret sauce, but there are winning methods


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Business partnerships are much like personal relationships: They deserve and require consistent attention.

Good business partners build, create, grow, learn, adapt, face challenges, celebrate successes and a whole lot more — together. Each partner must court, support, trust, compromise and appreciate. Both partners must commit to the other emotionally, sometimes spiritually, often financially and hopefully contractually (if you’ve done your homework).

However, even the best partnerships may not be all rainbows and butterflies, because we are human. We disagree, raise our voices, don’t see eye-to-eye and bicker.

When the blues hits your business partnership vibe, how do you rebound? Can you rebound?

Setting the partnership up for success from the beginning is a great first step. Take the needed time to sort out the details and trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right now, it won't be right later.

In order to "start smart," consider the following ten tips for better business partnerships. Doing so helps save loads of time, money and energy.

Tip No. 1: Demonstrate a successful relationship together before the business. Ask yourself: Do you get along with this person? Do you communicate well? Does it feel like a natural fit? Do you enjoy spending time with this person?

Tip No. 2: Have compatible and complimentary skills. Identify each other’s strengths and weaknesses and define your roles within the company. Know that this may change, so it's important to remain flexible at all times. 

Tip No. 3: Establish a shared vision. Partners must be aligned. Do you both share the same passion?

Tip No. 4: Discuss each other’s needs and expectations. Take out the guess work and ask yourself: What do I need from my partner, and what can I contribute to make this partnership successful?

Tip No. 5: Set company and individual goals. This could be done together or separately, but they should align. Goals are a way to hold each other accountable when necessary (and it will become necessary).

Tip No. 6: Communicate with each other often. Create a platform for communication that works well for each partner and for the business. For instance, deciding between emails versus phone calls versus in-person as the primary means of communication.  There’s no right or wrong communication style, except that silence does not work.

Tip No. 7: Handle disagreements, disappointments and frustrations early. This means having the difficult conversations and confronting eachother even though confrontation and stepping out of your comfort zone can be hard. However, this is where you grow, this is where new ideas and better ways of operation will come to light.

Tip No. 8: Celebrate the wins, however small they may be. You should have fun and be proud of each and every one, beacuse many small wins will account for something huge.

Tip No. 9: Prioritize a work-life balance. This means giving each other breaks and respecting personal time, because we perform at our best when we have a balance.

Tip No. 10: Plan for the future. All partners should have an exit or back-up plan. No matter how strong the partnership your business could still fail because life happens and people and situations change. 

It isn't easy being successful in business — both as a sole proprietor or as a unified business partnership. If it was, everyone would do it.

But there is a reason (often many) why you take your growing business and decide to align it with a partner, just as there are reasons for nurturing and growing any other relationship in your life.

The process of partnering with someone should be rewarding, fun and fraught with potential peaks and valleys. But this is where the magic — and often the money — comes from.

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