Starting a business is in some ways like starting a long and tough journey. There will be tough moments, times when you will lose hope and want to seek reassuring eyes, times when you may like someone else to take the charge because it is just not your day – while there may be no use of telling this to lone wolves; for rest of us a good business partner goes a long way to make one’s life easy. Moreover, you may not be the master of all the skills required or have enough capital. No one is ever perfect, but a right combination of people will have a better chance – good partners counter each other’s faults. Moreover, synergy makes a good combination better than sum of its individual elements. Good partnerships will make two and two five; but also on side of caution – bad partnerships will reduce it to zero.
Here, we are not using the words ‘partners’ and ‘partnership’ to also include co-founders of companies besides limited liability and unlimited liability partnerships. We intend to provide you with some advice on the subject. While this advice may or may not offer what you may already know – it is important to be making deliberate efforts to executing it. Most partnerships have broken away due to failure in failing to follow these very rules:
The first and foremost can’t be more obvious. As we said no one is perfect and we don’t need a perfect person. What you want is a partner who shares your vision, energy and modus operand and compliments your strengths. It should be someone you trust and genuinely like and preferably someone who is strong wherever you are weak – and weak only where you are strong.
Old friendship help – as much of the work is already done. You know each-other, trust each other and will communicate better. Harley and Davidson were childhood friends. The co-founders of Google (Lerry Page and Sergy Brin – in picture), HP (Mr. Hewlett and Mr. Packard) etc each were very good friends.
2. Know each other
It obviously helps to know your partners – their habits, strengths, weaknesses, visions, priorities etc. And you must know these things before deciding whether or not you want to enter into a partnership with him. Try having shared adventures outside business activities, it would be far more helpful than any number of conversations.
Wherever there are multiple people involved; Communication becomes a vital factor in relation to success of enterprise. Communication is the engine oil of business and the cheapest stimulant for motivation. Once you are in a partnership, there should be no business secrets kept from each other – and you must keep the other updated about status of your part of job or any new information you found. Even before you enter a partnership, there should be a proper communication of priorities, vision etc. so that each of you know what you are entering into. You should learn these 11 ways effective communication in the workplace.
4. Make sure your work is seen
A lot of partners work hard for the firm without getting the fact into the knowledge of their friends – with good intentions and since they may not like in showing off their hard work. But, we will advise to make sure that your work is seen. So as to kill any chances of resentment; that may you may feel because your contribution has remained unnoticed. A rejection of reward is dangerous to life of partnership as sooner or later, it will create resentment; but when same rejection of reward goes unnoticed, it is simply lethal. This is purely psychological thing. The first thing in working in a partnership is to not even let a chance for resentment to enter – andthis is one of many ways we are going to suggest here. If you still continue to persist to argue that nothing such will happen, remember it may lead to resentment in your partner who hasn’t seen you work.
Good partnership is one in which partners continuously try to outwork each-other for sake of collective reward, and can see their partners doing the same.
5. Never discuss family maters
Keep work and personal matters separate. If you bring your family problems to office or office problems to home – you will see double the problems. If you avoid doing so, each place will act as a sort of escape from other. Again, partnership is just like any other relationship – let a person enter in too many spheres of your life; and you run a proportionate chance of ruining your friendship in all spheres. Also your enterprise will have enough risks and problems of its own – it can do without problems from other worlds.
6. Be professional
Partners, especially where they have also long been friends, often develop a tendency of taking each-other too lightly. Developing habits of coming late to work or not at all, laziness, joking too much etc. are signs of lack of professionalism. While you do not have bosses in your business and, while that is all the more reason for doing work your way; any liberties you take are at your partner’s expense. There should always be a sense of fun among partners but it must not come in way of work. And whether or not, they tell you – sooner or later resentment shall start showing up. Also, while no partnership can succeed without mutual trust, we insist a prior agreement, preferably written, should be there – just to give things a little more professional outlook. You should look at these 10 Indian online startup ideas that are growing enormous due to their professionalism.
7. Don’t be afraid to say ‘No’
Most people feel uncomfortable saying ‘No’ – especially to people they are invested in. For someone trying to work in a partnership, it is a big limitation. ‘Can’t say no’ doesn’t signify a good quality – you will soon be doing something you didn’t want to – if that happens too often, you will end up holding grudge against the very person you couldn’t once bring yourself to say ‘no’ to. Small, almost harmless ‘no’ go a long way to save you from big, bitter and often lethal ‘No’s.
8. Respect each other’s limitations
While we should all try to better ourselves, fight our weaknesses; it is important that you do not become too pushy for your partner to do the same – always telling them to improve themselves. At a point, we must start respecting each-other’s limitations.
9. Don’t be a control freak
There is a good chance that you are obsessed with control. If you are – than it is still okay, you can work on yourself. Here is what we suggest – First of all admit it to yourself, then admit it to your partner, then promise that you shall try control your obsession for control and, last but most importantly, keep that promise. While each partner may take a minor decision or act in emergencies on her/his own authority; while taking major decisions make sure that all partners is consulted before a decision is taken. A prior commitment to a proper procedure, that is to be followed while decision making, helps in avoiding any differences on this ground. You must avoid these 11 startup mistakes that can destroy your startup ideas.
10. Know that you will both mistakes
Whatever you will do, there will be rainy days. To err is human and you are starting something new – there will be a learning curve, you shall both make some mistakes. Don’t give up on firm or judge yourself or your partners because of the mistakes made at firm’s price – that is, as long as lesson is learnt. Avoid blaming the other even if it is all her/his fault. Never say ‘I told you so’. Fixing the blame won’t help. It was you who chose him/her as partner – and so it is always partly your blame whatever he/she does. You have jumped in it together – you survive or die together.
11. Know that you will have all kind of moods
As we said, you are starting on a long journey – and in the long run, you both are bound to have all kind of emotions even the bad ones. Shows of anger, resentment, and hopelessness from your partners shouldn’t cause you to hold judgments against others. Those negative emotions will show up both in you and your friend – it is your attitude after such incidences that will decide whether or not partnership will survive. Put in conscious efforts to suppress any judgments based on singular incidences.
12. Take a break from each other
Familiarity breeds contempt. There is nothing worse to seeing the same face again and again, each and every day – you end up losing respect for each-other. It is important that every once in a while you take a break for a fixed period – in which you both try to avoid each other and especially talking about business.
13. Be first one to reconcile
Wherever there are differences, someone will have to take the first step in reconciliation of differences. Be the one who does that rather than waiting for your partner.
And above all,
Remember, while there may be things more important than friendships – money is not one of them. A wise person sees all the possible ends before he/she starts something. Let it be an explicit understanding that there may come a time when you may have to call quits. In hoping for the best, don’t forget to prepare for the worst. See how these multi million companies that started in a garage and prepared for the worst to come.