Monday was a difficult day. After my team from my new company worked hard for six months at a rival company, I was forced to let the other business know that we would be “out”.
The reason was straightforward. The reason was that they had not yet signed the contract between our two firms. The consequence was difficult for us to comprehend: the negative publicity, the fallout and the impact it could affect all the clients and entrepreneurs we worked with.
I was also ashamed. I had violated my personal rule of never working with a company or partner without an agreement… with a written document.
That’s the thing I instruct my entrepreneurs to do, just for God’s sake!
Straightforward advice, certainly, but it isn’t used by the majority of entrepreneurs. Why?
The answer is at the bottom of this analogy. It’s similar to dating someone who’s really hot! At first, everything is going well. You’re trying to pinch yourself to ensure you’re not thinking about it. You glance past their flaws and the incompatibilities you have with them.
And then you discover that the “hot” person isn’t hot at all.
You then look back, wondering what went wrong. What was your thought process? What could you have done to not think of it? All of your family and friends did and probably advised you to be aware!
Eight Key Components of a Great (Business) partnership
1. Synergy- You complement each one another’s strengths and talents. You’re both good at what you do.
2. You trust their expertise and respect their reputation and vice the reverse.
3. It’s different to like than respect. I find it more fun and easier when I truly like my business associates.
4. Communication – when things are good, it’s easy to connect and trust. However, when things aren’t running smoothly, this is when communication gets a lot more difficult. Communication is the best way to go!
5. Each partner is aware of what value each partner provides. This doesn’t mean every partner is working for the same amount of time. It’s more often the case that it’s completely different.
6. Before you share equity or split assets of the company, ensure that you’re playing well in the sandbox first. Share a percentage of resources, sales or even skillsets for your first project or year prior to giving shares to your company.
7. A legally agreed to document that is completed before beginning. If you say to yourself, “I’ll be able to finish it later”, Then you will forget what was agreed upon, or the situation changes and your worth isn’t recognized by other people in the same as you do. People forget. Or their opinions change.
8. Exit-think about how you’ll divide the partnership in case you don’t like the outcome. This should be an element of your contract prior to the time you begin working together.
The end result was that Monday wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined it would be. Actually, I’m grateful for what I had the opportunity to go through these last six months. A lot of knowledge was gained, I made some great friends (hiring one) And, most important, I’m back on course with my company and its goals.
Not bad for just six months of following the wrong road.
Steps to Take Steps For the Week
Re-examine your partnership. What are your partners’ experiences? How do you get together? Do you have synergistic skill sets or interests?
Do you communicate clearly?
Do you have a contract? If yes, what “fresh” does it look like? Do you think it needs to be revisited?
The bottom line is that it’s much more beneficial to invest time ensuring that you have an organized and clear agreement than in the rubble of a poor-performing partnership.
My name is Stefan Doering. From 1987 to the present, I’ve been innovating innovative ways to tackle sustainability and business that is environmentally friendly.
After launching an eco retail business that was among the first companies in the United States and expanding it to become among the biggest, I have taught hundreds of green companies and also taught green entrepreneurship to different NYC programs as well as at Columbia’s Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.
I concentrate on three main areas:
1.) Innovative green business models
2.) Making and implementing positioning and marketing strategies to make green more mainstream.
3.) Make sure that you have a profitable and long-lasting business that is sustainable and consistently profitable.