Forging a strong and lasting business partnership is oftentimes the only thing standing between aspiring entrepreneurs and failure, yet many hardworking professionals have little to no idea how to go about actually solidifying such a personal relationship.
Even business partnerships that were properly established implode every now and then, making the entire idea of working with someone else to make your commercial dreams come true a daunting endeavor for some.
You shouldn’t refrain from forging a business partnership just because you’re scared it’s going to implode. With the right advice and proper planning, you can make nearly any business arrangement work past its dysfunctions. Here’s how to stop your business partnership from imploding.
Personal chemistry is overrated
The first step towards preventing a business partnership from imploding is establishing strong foundations for it to rest upon as you build your commercial empire up from scratch.
Many entrepreneurs look at the intimidating endeavor of starting their own business and think it’s too much to handle alone, logically believing that they could achieve their dreams with the help of a partner if only one were available.
Naturally, they turn to their friends, family members, and the people with whom they have great personal chemistry. After all, don’t you want your business partnership to flow smoothly?
As a matter of fact, personal chemistry is heavily overrated when it comes to what makes a strong business partnership. Research has consistently demonstrated that companies which attempt to weather harsh economic headwinds by relying on the intensity of the personal relationship between the founding partners are going to sink much sooner than they’ll swim.
As the Harvard Business Review points out, an unexpected change in leadership or sudden development in your personal relationship can send your entire business arrangement toppling downwards if you simply rely on personal chemistry.
In other words, you’ll need more than a thorough understanding of and relationship with your business partner to succeed.
Research from MIT has actually demonstrated that too much trust can be a bad thing, so try to focus less on building firm personal relationships when it comes to business partnerships and instead focus on the brass tacks which are most important for your company in the long run.
Extensive lines of communication, clearly-established expectations, and flexibility for when things inevitably go wrong are much more important in terms of the longevity of your partnership than the personal chemistry and trust between the partners in question.
Make your self-interests align
By far the most effective means by which you can prevent a business partnership from imploding before your very eyes is making the self-interests of the partners align.
When everyone involved in the company’s ranks of senior leadership has a reason to be moving towards joint goals, the overall vibrancy of your partnership will be undiminished by personal feuds or temporary business shortcomings.
Effective two-way communication is the only way you can guarantee your interests are aligned, as you’ll need the be constantly updating one another on future plans and expectations in order to have the same goals in mind.
It’s important for potential business partners to brush up on the importance of two-way communication if they don’t want their company to die due to a lack of the ability to compromise.
Similarly, having clearly established protocols for company-wide communication efforts will help prevent senior leaders from stepping on one another’s toes as they try to command the microphone all by themselves.
Setting up these clear lines of communication and also arriving at similar goals and mindsets is achieved by properly structuring your partnership from the get-go.
Forging a long-lasting partnership
Long-lasting partnerships can only be created if the overall structure of the agreement is clearly understood by all parties involved. Many businesses inevitably fail like patients on a hospital bed mattress, because they enjoy a little bit of success, begin to scale their operations and have one partner renege on the deal because they didn’t truly understand its comprehensive scope at the time of the agreement.
Properly structuring your partnership is perhaps the most important aspect of making sure that it doesn’t implode over time from neglect or shoddy construction.
It’s also important for you to realize that a properly structured partnership isn’t necessarily a super-strict one. Having a degree of flexibility in your operating agreement is important, as you’ll soon discover that all business partners inevitably evolve over time and develop new interests, goals, and governing styles.
As long as both you and your business partners can react fluidly to one another when you inevitably change, you’ll likely be able to weather the strain that’s put on any partnership as time goes on.
Finally, it’s important to establish that not all partnerships can be saved and that locking yourself into an unhealthy business relationship is just as sinister as locking yourself into an unhealthy romantic or personal one.
If you know what to do when a business partnership goes bad to the point where it can’t be redeemed, you’re on track to succeed in the long-term. After all, most business partnerships fail, which is simply a part of making it in the modern marketplace.
Keeping your head up and understanding that past failures don’t have to dictate your future is a vital part of success, so understand that just because one partnership failed you’re not permanently doomed to wander the business world alone.
Keep your chin up and establish your expectations clearly, and your business partnership will be saved from its impending implosion in no time.
Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.