Are two brains better than one? When it comes to business, that’s usually the case. Building an empire is typically much easier when you’re able to divide and conquer, rather than go it alone.
But not all business partnerships are created equal. There’s a reason successful entrepreneurs invest just as much in their teams as they do in their ideas. Partnering with the right (or wrong) person can literally make or break your business.
If you’re entertaining the idea of bringing a partner into your business, consider these three building blocks of any successful partnership.
Building Block #1) Seek Out Partners With Complementary Skills
It might be tempting to entertain potential partners who share the same professional background and areas of expertise as you. However, there’s logic in seeking a partner who has a different, but complementary skillset.
The idea is to build up a team with multiple skillsets, so everyone can focus on what they’re an expert at
Building Block #2) Get Things in Writing
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many business owners I’ve talked to who have lost their butts, due to not having appropriate business contracts in place.
Any time you’re considering a partnership, it’s best to consult with an attorney about what documents you need in place to outline the terms of the partnership and protect your business
“At minimum, you should have a partnership agreement in place that outlines the terms of your partnership, compensation, and potential termination clauses. Even if you have a long history with the person you’re partnering with, business is business and everything needs to be in writing,” explains Jason Berkowitz of Break the Web.
Building Block #3) Get Hard Conversations Out of the Way
Don’t get so excited about your new partnership, or about your new business idea that you rush into it without having some of the necessary, but difficult conversations.
First and foremost, you need to have some hard talks about money. Who will be paid what? Will you be equal partners, or will one of you be a majority partner? How much money will be reinvested in the business? What are your budgets and financial projections?
Other hard talks you’ll need to tackle before diving headfirst into your new partnership include discussing how conflict will be resolved and which partner will act as the figurehead for the brand.
As Mark Twain famously said, eat the frog first. Meaning, get the tough stuff out of the way first and the rest of your partnership should be smooth sailing (or at least smoother sailing than it would be if you avoided the hard talks).