I have eluded to the fact that I had a business partner in my former
life online business in my last post. In fact, since the website/blog was couple-themed, I had two, along with my husband who basically allowed me to run the show. We won’t count him! 😉 Having two business partners that you don’t know very well posed a few challenges!
What I Wish I Knew About My Business Partners BEFORE I Went into Business With Them
I have spoken a lot about what you need to know and ask a business partner before you sign a contract with them in another post, but I thought that I would use this as an opportunity to share why it’s important to know everything you can about your business partner. I’ll share a few more examples of why you need to properly vet your business partner – AND their spouse! (Just to clear the air before we get started – I am not speaking will any ill-intent toward my former business partners – just sayin’!)
Understanding roles is likely the #1 reason business partnerships fail. People have a predetermined idea about how they want their business to run and function and it is typically one-sided. If it’s not all about them, it’s all about their business partner and what they are or are not doing. Clear definitions of roles, as in you do this and I do this is the only way to solve this! It may sound elementary, but if you have a business partner that has a tendency to hold even the smallest of grudges, you have to do this! They will resent you for not reading their mind or taking initiative to do a task and you will never know it! This scenario is very common in business relationships between spouses.
Finding a Balance on Finances
Whoa! Finances can make or break any relationship – marriages, friendships and yes, especially business partnerships! Understanding how you will make money, spend money and split the money is important! Super important! Determine who will be responsible for the finances AND the taxes ahead of time. Set a limit on spending without consulting the other business partner. Determine a philosophy from the start – if you believe that “you have to spend money to make money,” but your partner doesn’t, you may have to learn to compromise early on.
Your Business Partner Doesn’t Have to be Your Friend
Um… yeah. I think everyone has to be my friend, don’t you?! I can’t stand it when someone is mad at me or if I upset someone. However, in the world of business, you have to make tough decisions. You have to stand on your own two feet and stick to your guns when it comes to decisions that impact your business. If you feel like you are constantly dragging your business partner through the next phase of your business, or better yet, apologizing for your actions, you won’t actually have time to run your business.
One of You Has to be Able to Make Decisions
I admit it, the older I get, the more aware I am that I am bad at making decisions. Some days, I have to force myself to just decide. If there are two of you that can’t make a decision without consulting everyone else in the group, you’ll have a hard time moving your business forward. Part of the fun of business is taking risks and trying new things. Make sure that your new or potential business partner has the ability to make decisions, as do you and you have an understanding that if you make a decision that has an impact on the business, whether good or bad, you trust each other’s judgement and deal with it. I have a client that takes two minutes, decides what she wants and goes for it – I LOVE THAT!