Does this resemble your business partnership? Have you ever been driving and gotten so lost you could hardly find your way home? In the days of GPS, this may seem hard to imagine, but even with technical assistance on your side, you can have an old map, get the wrong directions when there is a detour, misinterpret a direction, or hear it too late, and there you are, going the wrong way on a freeway 20 miles from the next exit.
You can’t turn around, so you drive in the wrong direction as you make yourself late, nearly run out of gas, and become more annoyed and frustrated with every passing mile. You replay in your mind how you got so off track, but there is no way to retrieve the lost time.
Imagine you are in a business partnership that seemed like a straight shot to success when you first got involved. Then, things went haywire. You find you can’t communicate with your partner who is always running off in a different direction. What you hoped to achieve when you entered into the partnership agreement is not working out — to the point where you want out. But there you are, unable to change course anytime soon.
What went wrong? Is it too late to fix things? How can you get out of the partnership? Even if things are okay, despite an occasional missed communication, are you wondering if it’s time to end the partnership?
Before you go there in your thinking let’s take a look at the mistakes you are making in your business partnership. Do you see yourself in any of these situations?
- When you went into business you might have thought the financial possibilities looked so good on paper that you overlooked a lot of other things that would come along with the partnership package. Did you think you had to be best friends or share everything both professionally and personally, except now you don’t want to spend time with them outside the office?
- Egos have a way of playing havoc with relationships. Are you the primary revenue generator and think you should make all the decisions, even if that wasn’t the original agreement? Or because you are more the ‘face’ of the company and your partner(s) are handling the back office you get all the trips or conferences or other things the others don’t get?
- Communication, on a regular basis has come to a halt, unless there is a problem. When you started out you had regular discussions and now the thought of meeting with your partner causes you to break into a sweat?
- Do you avoid confrontation, or worse yet see every conversation as a confrontation? Somehow you always have a meeting, a phone call or aren’t going to be available to ‘talk’.
- Flexibility has gone out the door. Your partner wants to try something new, sees new opportunities to explore, alliances to form or something else, but you are thinking why rock the boat?
- You have a scarcity mentality. Cash may be tight, or maybe the business is beginning to make money and you want to keep it for yourself. You don’t want to invest in the business unless you have guarantees of a return on investment.
- Trusting your partner(s) isn’t something you feel. You find yourself always wondering what’s really behind their actions or what they are saying. Is it possible they will gang up on you and your vote no longer matters? Perhaps you aren’t even sure they are doing their job well.
- While you recognize others have different needs, you aren’t as considerate of their needs or challenges as would be ideal. You find yourself frustrated when they are out sick, leave early for their children’s activities or have to handle other personal issues. Moreover when it’s time to have a discussion about anything you are dismissive and aren’t listening as you have already decided what they are going to say or what you want to happen, or both.
- You have negative feelings about one or more things. It could be compensation or their work ethic or business direction or anything else. But instead of finding a time and a way to communicate and discuss these, with the goal of coming to an agreement you stuff all those feelings. Except they come out in other ways even if you don’t realize it.
- The last time you revisited goals or direction of the business was somewhere in the last century. Now it seems that the business is taking a different direction than you want, or had initially agreed to.
- Overlooking details such as expectations, communication, goals, vision, roles, performance of each partner, changes and more is now status quo. Everyone is busy and taking the time to revisit these topics just doesn’t fit into the calendar.
In order for business partnerships to flourish beyond being profitable, partners must explore the relationships and communication issues that make a business tick. Even when the partners are poorly matched, the business can go well for a time, but often at the emotional expense of the people involved. Every dollar earned and spent comes with conflict. You get to the point where you need things to run more smoothly, or you think it is time to go.
Even when partners are in accord, things change, both in the business world and in the personal lives of the partners. One of the biggest mistakes you make with your partners is not recognizing that things will change, and these changes need to be addressed, for the health of the partnership and the success of the business. Communication is the key to making it all work, and poor, ineffective or total lack of communication is frequently the demise of the relationship, and often the success of the business.
Are you battling with your business partners on company direction, roles, decision making, and just about everything else? Not sure if it can get better? Schedule a complimentary thirty-minute call with Linda to discuss your unique situation and discover if you could benefit from partnership coaching.
© 2017 Incedo Group, LLC