Partnership Problem: Unmet Expectations

Strategy: Communicate

Any partnership suffers when expectations are not being met.

Partnerships work when all partners focus on the same business goals, while also working toward their own personal goals. Each partner uses his strengths to build and support the business. Each feels that his personal expectations are met, and is accountable for meeting agreements with the other partners.

If you don’t already know, find out what your partner expects from you.   Share your expectations as well. Have a plan for when personal or business circumstances or interests change so, when needed, expectations can be readdressed.

It’s important for each partner to know his own motivation, to know and be clear about what he expects from each partner and from the partnership overall. While the vision for the business should be the same for all partners, expectations may be quite different for each partner. When expectations are not met, it’s a set up for negative feelings. The earlier communication can take place, the sooner the issue can be resolved.

We all know that not every business partnership works out in the end. No matter how enterprising the idea or business, there are times when business plans and partnerships do fail. Making a partnership work requires tenacity, dedication and creativity.

Regular meetings to discuss business are the ideal way to keep the lines of communication open. Meetings focused on plans, strategies, expectations, reporting and accountability may not be the most glamorous part of business; but they will keep you focused on what’s important for success.  Even after months or years of success, such meetings need to continue to make sure timely communication takes place and disagreements do not become the basis for a partnership failure.

Above all, know when to ask for help.  Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness; it IS a sign of your commitment to your business and your customers.  When failing isn’t an option, but you are uncertain on what to do next, I’m here to help.

Help! I Want to Dissolve my Partnership

A client, we’ll call her Susan, had a business that was struggling financially and operationally. She was totally disgusted because her partner of 10 years was no longer carrying his weight and didn’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation. She was so stressed she was seriously considering liquidating the business if things couldn’t be changed for the better in a very short time.

What to do? Her first commitment had to be to herself. Susan was able to realize that it was up to her to take command of this situation. She was coached to create some measurable goals with time frames. She decided she wanted to give the business and her partner one last chance. Susan knew she must bring her partner, and eventually her staff, into the picture in order to get their buy-in.

She created Job Roles for herself, her partner and each of her staff (Office Manager, Buyer and 2 Salesmen). Because of the longstanding relationship between her and her partner, we agreed it was best if I met with the partner and her to present things up to this point. Preparing for this was anxiety-producing for Susan, but also liberating. NOTE: Using a third party (like a coach or consultant) can offer a different perspective to a known problem. [Read more…]

The Partnership Model for Growth and Profit

If you’re thinking a partnership is a business with one or more equity owners, you’re absolutely correct. But the terms partner and partnership have a much broader meaning in usage. Read or listen to the business news and you’ll hear lots about business partnerships. Businesses large and small are growing through partnerships.

Dallas Business Journal reports, “American Airlines has forged a three-year marketing partnership with National Football League’s New England Patriots.”

Reuters states, “Jamie Kennedy partners with Yoostar ™ to create original viral content and launch the Yoostar Comedy Channel”

Wall Street Journal announces, “Google and SpotMixer expand partnership to include In-Stream video advertising. [Read more…]

How Can I Fix My Business Partnership?

I’ve found there are lots of people in a long standing business partnership who are not satisfied with the status of the relationship. They may feel stuck, frustrated, angry…or all of these. They know they’ve been silent far too long, but just don’t know what to do.

What can cause such a change in a relationship that started out with high hopes and good feelings?

Here are some of the situations I see most often. Do any of these apply to your partnership?

One partner feels like he’s carrying the bulk of the workload.

This may have happened because there wasn’t an agreement about who would do what. Job roles, responsibilities and accountability have not been discussed.

Expectations are not being met. [Read more…]

7 Tips for a Business Partnership That Works

Business partnerships take on a variety of forms. They may be a long term formal legal commitment or a simple short term venture to test a market concept. The same principles apply in all cases.

Here are 7 tips to make sure the partnership starts strong and stays strong.

1 – Start by creating a shared Vision & Mission

As in any business, it’s critical for the partners to define the Vision and Mission of the venture as the very first step. If all brains aren’t going in the same direction in the same way, problems are bound to arise.

The motives for each partner can be different. The overall objectives and methods, however, need to be the same.

Tom chose to partner with Dominic because each saw the market need for a commercial kitchen facility. Tom was a commercial contractor who had worked on restaurants and catering facilities. Dominic was Manager of a cooking school and well connected within the food preparation industry. Their Vision was a 2,000 sq. ft. facility that would have 3 shifts of production, serve as a test kitchen for the cooking school and contract with other long term and project clients.

Tip: Take time to discuss your company’s Vision and Mission with your partners. Look for what energizes and motivates each of you about your business. Give it a purpose and define what the ideal business will look like. Put the joint Vision and Mission in writing and use it as the reference for everything else you do. [Read more…]

Common Partnership Challenges

I’ve had one official business partnership during my coaching and consulting career. I met Barbara (alias) in 2001 through a women’s business organization. We didn’t really know each other well but we both thought creating a partnership to offer “personal branding services” would benefit each of us. I would provide the system, she would provide communications and presentation training. To round out our offering we decided to contract with an image consultant. We had a very thin written agreement that mainly stated we were equal partners. We agreed we would put together a personal branding program that we would package and market through our mutual networks.

Unfortunately, Barbara had no network. I assumed she had one, but I didn’t think to ask before we shook hands. She looked to me to create the program, develop the marketing and get people to sign up. Plus I had the business background, so she figured I should handle the books also. After being in business only about nine months, Barbara’s husband became suddenly ill and she had to take care of him round the clock. We decided to dissolve the partnership. Obviously it was headed for eventual problems, so it’s fortunate we had another reason to disband. [Read more…]

How Can I Fix My Business Partnership?

I’ve found there are lots of people in a long standing business partnership who are not satisfied with the status of the relationship. They may feel stuck, frustrated, angry…or all of these. They know they’ve been silent far too long, but just don’t know what to do.

What can cause such a change in a relationship that started out with high hopes and good feelings?

Here are some of the situations I see most often. Do any of these apply to your partnership?

One partner feels like he’s carrying the bulk of the workload.

This may have happened because there wasn’t an agreement about who would do what. Job roles, responsibilities and accountability have not been discussed.

Expectations are not being met. [Read more…]