Business partnerships can be one of the greatest business structures when it’s going well.
One of the worst when it’s not.
I’ve been in both scenarios over my career.
I often work with business partners when they’re frustrated or struggling. They started the partnership inspired by an idea with probably some sort of very basic business legal agreement.
But that agreement doesn’t cover the most common challenge they encounter:
misalignment of goals, vision, approaches, style and workloads
Miscommunication ensues. The business partners become at odds with each other.
The longer they don’t address the misalignment, the worse it gets.
Think of it like two parents – one with a lenient parenting style and the other strict. As the stricter parent is strict, the lenient parent reacts and becomes even more lenient – and vice versa. So they each get more and more positional, which makes the situation more at odds. There’s often a lot of finger pointing and blame.
These issues are common and can be resolved. I can’t say it always works out perfectly – but a new approach can be created, partners can learn to work together more effectively or even dissolve the partnership amicably if that’s needed. I’ve seen the partnership improve within a month.
This relates to alliances, joint ventures and family businesses as well. There are certain questions to be thoughtfully addressed before you start. Here are a few to consider:
I’ve met with people who were thinking of starting a partnership. After talking with me, they decided not to. They probably saved themselves thousands of dollars and many, many headaches.
People usually request help when they’re already in the business and frustrated. They’ve done everything possible to work better together but it just keeps getting worse. This impacts the partners’ well-being and everyone in the company—not to mention the business focus, growth and profits.
Everyone knows when the parents are fighting.
Watch my video on partnerships here on the Top 3 Tips to Have Partnerships Succeedand please share it with others.
If you know someone struggling in a partnership, I’d love to chat with them. They will get immediate relief and a way forward that works.
From a couple of my clients in partnerships:
"Kerry's coaching has had an incredible impact! Her coaching has helped to create a better working relationship with my business partner, to shift my listening, and help me to be more collaborative with my team. I really believe in her philosophy around relationships and communication. She is incredibly open, upbeat and positive. Kerry sees the potential in you and her approach and coaching have helped guide me to that potential."
"Our coaching experience with Kerry has been terrific. She has pushed us, held us accountable, seen aspects of our business that we've been unable to see for ourselves, helped us to have difficult conversations that have opened new avenues and overall, made us better leaders. Our business has grown as a result of what we've opened up with her coaching."