Volume 3, Issue 7 of RISBJ
Will you marry me?
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to have both partnerships and work alone in my business. While working alone may seem easier to some, there are advantages and disadvantages to both scenarios. I’ve had a few very challenging partnerships that didn’t end well, and I’ve spent time as a “solopreneur” wishing I had a partner to bounce ideas off of and help share in the company growth (and stress).
I’ve always been someone that enjoys learning from each experience, good or bad, and there has been plenty of both over the past 15 years. What has helped me in my business partnerships was to look at it in a similar way to how I look at my marriage (minus a few obvious things). Both marriage and business partnerships are strong relationships that require mutual trust and respect. They both rely heavily on finances to make decisions. With business partners and spouses we continue working towards a common goal with someone else’s best interest in mind.
While both partnerships and marriage can be difficult at times, partnerships end at an astounding rate of nearly 80%, compared to 50% of marriages ending in divorce. Here are the main factors that need to be addressed to ensure a lifelong, happy partnership:
How committed are you?
Are you as committed to your relationship as your partner? In order for your business to be successful, each individual must be doing what’s in the best interest of the company first. That commitment to each other, and to your business, will help guide you to success.
Where’s the money?
Do you understand your financials and know the numbers? Regardless of whether you handle receivables and payables, you should know where your company stands at all times. Have financial discussions with your partner, make decisions on how to best spend the money, and look for new streams of revenue that you both agree on.
One thing that I’ve definitely learned from past partnerships (and relationships) is that you must have mutual respect for each other’s strengths and shortcomings. They say opposites attract, and the same holds true for business. Find someone that excels in areas that you’re weak, and vice versa. Respect the strengths that each person brings to the table.
Does your passion still burn?
You never want to hear that “the passion is gone.” Losing the passion for your business can be a deal breaker for any company. Always make sure that you and your partner still the same drive, motivation and love for what you’re doing. Without passion, it’s very difficult to grow a business.
Are we compatible?
Do you and your partner get along? While being friends first and then going into business can often be a difficult task, it’s always good to be compatible with your business partner. Having similar values is always a great place to start. While in marriage, we often like to start as friends, business partnerships can often work in the reverse: start as partners who respect each other and a friendship can evolve.
While both partnerships and marriages can have their challenges, going in prepared helps us enjoy the benefits of both. Not every day is easy, but in the end I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve been fortunate to have business partners, and a wife, that I admire, trust and respect. I put in my heart and soul every day, and know I will get the same in return. That’s what helps drive us to success.