I have multiple failed business partnerships but it has never stopped me in never partnering with people to build businesses together. With business partners, you can have access to skill sets or resources to help you progress much faster in your career in business than not partnering up. Most business partnerships I have are about leveraging either my partner’s resources or marketing skills.
I have met many other business owners who says they do not trust partners, or do not work with family members as partners in business. I honestly feel that they are missing out. I feel that business partners are great to have when you are starting out, because if you have different skill sets, it really helps to complement the business and make it better. Working with others will definitely create conflicts every once in a while. It happens to ALL relationships, not just business partners but giving up working with others is a terrible idea as you will just be limiting yourself. Instead we should understand how to manage these conflicts, resolve them so that we can all be making money together.
When it comes to conflict resolutions, these are steps I usually take.
Understand Your Differences In Personalities
Conflicts usually arises because of differences in personalities. It could be that your partner cares more about a different aspect of the business, such as perfecting your product, service or management of your business while you focus more on the profitability. It could be that your partner feels differently about work-life balance when it comes to working in your business. It could be the different risk tolerance level that you and your partner(s) have.
Bring Up The Issue With Your Partner As Soon As Possible
Talk about the conflict or unhappiness that you have as soon as you can. Do not allow unhappiness turn into animosity over time, or else one day you will blow up, and it becomes a irreconcilable problem. Never attack them personally and always stay on topic and be as objective as possible.
Talk about the problem so that you understand why your partner feels strongly about the issue and see if you can compromise.
Choose A Leader
If that doesn’t work, choose a leader in the venture and whoever is the leader always get the final say.
Allow Your Partner To Have Their Way
Consider allowing your partner to have their way, so that the business partnership can move forward. Firstly, work out the numbers and see if what your partner suggest will severely affect your profitability. If it doesn’t then allow them to have their way, so that the business can continue, and you can continue to be making money, albeit less now, and maybe re-negotiate the profit-share between you and your partner(s). If it does affect your profitability severely to a point where the business is not profitable anymore, then withdraw from the business.
Speak to your partner to sell of your share in the business to him/her and give them the full control that they want.
Not All Business Partnerships Make Tons of Money
Not all business partnerships make tons of money. Just like hiring a team, not everyone is going to be an ace player on your team, some are going to be average and you have to learn to accept that. It is always okay to just allow your partners to take over majority of the show if that’s what they are looking for, while you move back behind the scenes, work less, take a smaller cut of the business and build something else instead. It is okay to not be the in charge all the time. As much as possible, never end the partnership and close the business just because of pride. You are effectively killing off an income source for yourself.
Here Are Some Common Business Partnership Conflicts I’ve Come Across and How I Handle Them
Is it because you are more growth oriented and your partner is more of a perfectionist? You are looking to make more money, while your partner cares more about making sure the product or the service is served at it’s best.
If this is the problem, always look at the company’s profit and loss statement. Is your partner’s fixation of being perfect affecting your profits? If so, are you still making healthy profits? If you are, allow them to take over the show. Reduce your equity in the business and allow them to have a bigger share in exchange for more effort and control while you can move on and work on something else.
Is it because you feel that you are working hard while your partner doesn’t seem to be putting in the same amount of effort as you, while sharing the profits equally and you feel unfair about that?
My best solution to this problem is to always work hard and build the business all the way till both of you are able to afford employees to run the operations for you. This way your business runs on it’s own and you never will have to argue about who is putting more effort and who should be paid more any more. But if your partner is completely not doing anything, definitely fire him. It is also okay to ask if you can take a higher profit share of the business.
Your partner is afraid of taking risks even if it is calculated
This is common as usually one party is more conservative than the other. Always discuss with them and hopefully they can see your point. Otherwise, you can always allow the business to stay at the scale of where it is as long as it is possible.
Conflicts between business partners are healthy. But always be mindful of what you say to them. Do not say things that has zero value but instead hurt their feelings as much as we can. Always remember that not all businesses have to aim for the stars and that money in your pocket is more value than pride. If all else fails, it is okay to walk away and end things amicably.
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