Over the past six months, I have been involved in my first true business “partnership” with multiple active owners. Most of my career has been working as a majority business owner. Needless to say, it’s a “little” different working with three other people who have as much ownership as I do.
During this time, I have learned 5 things that are required to build strong business partnerships.
We are all different
No single person has it all figured out (and yes, that includes you, too). Varying skill sets, perspectives, and experiences working in unison are much more powerful than a singular paradigm. In mathematics, 1 + 1 may equal 2, but in human interaction, 1 + 1 often results in 3 or more!
This one is a tough one for many people (especially type A people who like to be in charge and right about things). None of us are right all the time. When we embrace the input of other people, whether we agree or disagree, it gives us the opportunity to see things from a different perspective. Furthermore, it is not always about who’s right or who’s wrong, more often than not it is about doing what is best in a given situation. In many cases, this is usually the result of meeting in the middle.
If any partnership is going to work, it must be built on trust. Trust leads to respect, which creates a strong foundation to build upon. No partnership can survive if there isn’t open, transparent communication with the spirit of vulnerability.
Partners must work together towards a common goal. Whether this is creating a new website for a client or business partners working to grow a business, there must be a unified vision that propels the group forward. This unified vision must be created at the beginning. It may change over time, but everyone must be on board. The lack of a shared vision and focus on unity has unraveled many partnerships. There will always be differences of opinion on some things; however, there must be a core that unites.
Partners must be passionate about working together and truly believe that they are better together than on their own. This is the result of the foundation built by the preceding elements of a strong partnership.
Built to Last
People are people. There are natural ebbs and flows in any partnership (business, marriage, project, etc). There will be times of agreement, disagreement, disappointment, euphoria, and just about all elements in the gamut of human emotions. Building a solid partnership based the five keys outlined in this article will help you weather the ups and downs to build something great together.