Negosentro.com | If we take a look at most of the business partnerships out there, we can see they are not that different from functional marriages. Earning the affection of the right partner may sometimes be very hard, but once all the pieces finally fall into place, only the sky’s the limit. This analogy is only underlined by the fact that adventurous, risk-taking and free-spirited as they are, entrepreneurs seldom make a good marriage proposal.
But, just as courting has its share of, let’s call them good practices, inspiring confidence and creating a strong business partnership can be accomplished through some tried and tested gestures. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Identify your strengths and weaknesses
Going back to the analogy of marriage, in a perfect relationship, partners should complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. So, before committing to any kind of written agreement or for that matter, engaging in serious negotiations, do your best to go through your skillset, working habits as well as potential weaknesses of your organization. The parties that do not feature complimentary skillsets make a very poor candidate for a mutually beneficial business relationship, regardless of your effort.
Identify the shared goals and put them into a written agreement
Even so, having complementary skills is not the strongest foundation for long-term professional commitment. If you want to inspire loyalty and devotion, you and your partner need to identify the shared goals that will provide your union with much-needed glue. In order to demonstrate how devoted you are to the cause, these concepts should be eventually elevated to a binding legal agreement.
If we take a look at, say, Australia as an example of a developed country, we can see that such documents usually consist of the following topics:
- Partnership name
- The purpose of the partnership
- Capital contributions and ownership interests
- Partner information
- The distribution of earnings and expenses
- Management structure
- Withdrawal clauses
- Partnership dissolution clauses
Win over the partner with small gestures
While you are discussing the shared goals and negotiating the agreement clauses, it is always a good idea to treat the potential partner with small goodwill gestures that will demonstrate your affection as well as commitment. For instance, if we stay a while in the Land Down Under, we’ll see that it’s not uncommon to get rentals to accommodate visiting partners, such as a reliable Avis car hire. This is, by all means, a good practice. Something in the vein of expensive presents and bribery is considered to be of much poorer taste.
Introduce a formal management structure
We already briefly mentioned this when we talked about the topics of the written agreement, but it’s still worth going into greater detail. If you ever want to achieve tangible results, your business partnership should have a centralized governing body made from representatives of all involved parties. Just like an independent organization, this body should feature hierarchical structure, agile management, agreed business plan, and even its own budget. This kind of organization guarantees stability and suppression of personal interests.
Establish structured communication channels and accountability mechanisms
While you are setting up this governing structure, you also have to set the foundations for the free flow of information. At any given moment, each involved person and party needs to know to whom it is responsible, where relevant information needs to be delivered and how it needs to be delivered. Also, you have to encourage the atmosphere of transparency and accountability, where any potential problem will be discussed freely, and disagreements handled before they escalate into grievances.
Nurture the relationship with shared events and activities
At this point, your partnership should be well-structured and fully functional. However, the time for exploring new possibilities and goodwill gestures is not over. We are, of course, talking about organizing various shared conferences, events and team-building activities. All of them offer two-fold benefits. On the one hand, such events are reinforcing the strength of the union and allowing the involved parties to become acquainted on a more personal level. On the other, they are an excellent opportunity for networking and potentially expanding your empire.
Have an exit strategy
Every strong business partnership is (or at least it should be) based on shared goals and mutual interests. Once these goals are met, the partners should be able to leave the partnership and live happily ever after on their own. Of course, the agreement can be renewed indefinite number of times, which is, by all means, a good outcome. But, you should not allow that the partnership’s expiring date – the very reason the partnership was established in the first place – finds you unprepared for future ventures. Also, be aware of the worst-case scenario and have a plan if the partnership eventually falls apart.
We hope these few tips gave you a general idea of what makes the foundation for a solid business partnership. Forming mutually beneficial collaborations can open up a slew of possibilities for persons and organizations that need support in order to progress but only if all involved parties are committed to the mutual cause and follow the precise set of agreed rules.