They say with unity comes power. When partnerships in trade business are concerned this notion certainly rings true. A field of opportunities flourish when the knowledge, skills and networks of two people are combined together. When captured, these opportunities make for a powerful force to be reckoned with.
However, too often we see that this field of opportunities is more like an undiscovered mess, a wasteland of potential. Too often we see that business partners are missing out on the opportunities that their knowledge, skills and networks are presenting because their partnership is lacking one key ingredient…its health!
An unhealthy business relationship is detrimental to business partners on both a business and a personal level – a result of which I’m sure they weren’t hoping to achieve when they decided to create their partnership in the first place.
If you feel like you and your business partner need to revitalise the health of your partnership and discover the opportunities that you have left wasted for so long then check out these tips.
Tip #1 Goals
Understand all the goals (small and large!) that you and your business partner wish to achieve. If you’re on different pages when it comes to these goals then you’ll be pulling the business in different directions.
Individually decide on the goals you want to achieve, share these with each other, endeavour to accommodate both of your goals (even if they’re different to your own) and then strategise ways you will achieve these.
When everyone’s goals are being considered there will be a greater commitment to the business.
Tip #2 Ongoing Communication
Be mindful when you communicate with your business partner. Remember that your business partner is human too so it’s paramount that your dealings with them remain professional and respectful.
Listen to your partner’s opinion and consider what they’re saying with an open-mind (their opinion is extremely important to them) before dismissing what they’re saying.
Instead of shutting your business partner down when you disagree with their suggestions, start by weighing up the pros and cons. Sometimes they may think of different pros and cons to you. When you complete this process you can honestly say you have considered their suggestion and have come up with an educated conclusion as to why it may or may not work.
When decisions between partners are made, repeat the decisions verbally back to your partner for clarity and get it in writing for security. This is a sure-fire way to ensure you’re both on the same page.
It’s beneficial for your business relationship to emphasis the ‘good’ more than the ‘bad’. Even the slightest acknowledgement that your business partner is working hard will go a long way in their eyes, refreshing their commitment to the business.
Tip #3 Check In
Regularly check in with your business partner face-to-face (avoid email and text) over meetings is really important for a couple of reasons.
If you allocate 10 minutes a day (agree on 9:15am daily for example) in addition to longer meetings once a week and once a month you’ll be able to address issues as they arise.
Having this space to generate clarity in the business and address issues in your relationship stops small issues boiling over into bigger ones. It prevents any negative air to be cleared privately so it doesn’t make the workspace toxic where employees are present.
It’s far more productive to have this time set aside once a day so that your work doesn’t get interrupted for these conversations continuously throughout the day.
Tip #4 Solution Orientated
Your attitude has the power to uplift or deflate your business partner. So, as inevitable roadblocks occur be positive and solution orientated.
Brainstorm solutions to make things happen and if necessary, break these solutions into more manageable goals.
Tip #5 Defined Roles
Establish your own and your business partners’ individual strengths and weaknesses and define job roles around these.
Tip #6 Solid Processes
When job roles are defined (as in tip #5), the person in each role becomes the decision maker and to go-to for employees needing answers in that particular area of the business. This will stop you from butting heads and prevent power play.
You should come to an agreement to back each other up in front of employees. If one says “no” then go with it and then bring up that you disagree in private.
Tip #7 Fill In The Gaps Caused By Limitations
Understand the limitations of you and your partner.
Does anyone else in your business have the skills to overcome these limitations or should you outsource this task?
Sticking to what you’re good at and outsource those tasks you aren’t as good at will avoid extra stress in your partnership moving forward.
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