Partnership Problem: Stress

Strategy: Expect stress, but don’t waste time on it!

Parnership Problems picture of man clentching fist over note padRunning a business can be very stressful.  If that stress is not managed properly it can often impact your relationships, including the one with your business partner.  Problems between you and your partner may simply be due to stress.  Complicating this issue is that many times what appears to be the problem on the surface is actually born out of stress and anxiety about the business.  Knowing this is half the battle.

If you think that stress anxiety is likely the case, take time to talk about it. Try to find out what you or your partner feels is wrong or what is stressing them; then take the time to fix it.  Many times stress and anxiety can be alleviated by focusing on solving an easily fixed circumstance. Recognition of your partner’s situation and feelings is a great place to start. Ask questions to determine their perspective. Share your own. If you’re having trouble coming together, it’s good to review and refocus on the original purpose for the business.  As a result you’ll learn if there has been a shift in thinking by either party.

In her article on Partnership Stressors Barbara Hauser identifies the top three stressors as being out of touch, out of sync and out of reach. You and your partner are out of touch if you have conflicting priorities, a different sense of urgency or how you choose to spend your time. Instead of feeling supported, the weight of responsibility seems to be square on your shoulders. Out of sync means you are not together on your timing. Both partners are busy, so meetings can get put off; one partner may be ready to move ahead rapidly, while the other is not ready. Out of reach produces long stretches of silence, unreturned phone calls and emails. Sudden changes of plans by one partner or the other make it difficult to stay on track in a business relationship.

The antidote for all these stressors is communication. It is absolutely critical that all partners meet on a regular basis to review the status of the business, the results of actions taken, plans for the future and concerns that may be producing stress. When one partner is stressed, it will likely affect the other partner too. Better to not allow the stress to build up, but if it does, take action now. If you’ve tried and you’re still not able to come together, it may be time for outside help.

Sometimes an outside opinion, kudos, idea… can revitalize your initial passion.  I have shared with more than one client how to, “Convert the energy of putting out fires into … plans that bring in more revenue, more customers, more brand recognition.”  Stress is not only bad for your health, but it wastes time and energy that can be focused on ______________ (you fill in the blank).  For some ideas now, you may find my Business Success Articles just what you need.  Otherwise contact me for more guidance and ideas.

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.