I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lied to, deceived or flat out stolen from over the past 10 years.
But let’s go back a bit further. I started my career out as an English teacher in Japan, but one night changed everything.
Since that time I’ve gone in search of one answer: how can I make a bigger difference? I studied personal development, joined a network marketing company (although they claimed they weren’t), wrote a book, ran a blog, and did podcasts. They all taught me different lessons, but my partnership had to have taught me the most.
I wish I could say it were a success story, but 18 months proved more than enough for me. The business failed about a year after I left. While I still have my battle scars, it taught me lessons in management, marketing, customer service, accounting and time management.
Today I’ll share with you 5 time management lessons I learned from my partnership in hopes you avoid the same fate our business did.
Lesson # 1: Get A Contract
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not as easy when you’re dealing with friends. Not having a contract is the very reason many partnerships fail. They spend too much time renegotiating terms.
Starting a new business is always tough which is why not going it alone can be a good idea. Having two or three people pooling their resources is a great way to amplify your chances of success. However, once a problem arises, blame tends to get shifted around with no one wanting to take responsibility.
That’s why it’s so important to have a clear contract (doesn’t have to be complicated), so that you can focus on growing the business, not negotiating a pay raise or the next bonus.
Lesson # 2: Run It Like A Business
A partnership is like any other business, and as such, it must be run like one. Expect friendship to be tested if you decide to team up with a few friends to build a business. Sure, there are those success stories of a few friends getting together in the dorm room one night and five years later they are all billionaires.
What you don’t often hear about are the partnerships that fail and the friendships that die with them.
Every business has rules, a partnership needs rules as well that all partners adhere to.
Lesson # 3: Plan
Brian Tracy, a leader in the personal development field, says “Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent Return on Energy!”
I learnt firsthand just how true that quote was. Unfortunately, I was on the wrong end of it. Our passion overtook our logic and we got involved in a very complicated rebuild of our location. Originally it was set out to take four months and under $8000, but by the time I left the project, 18 months later, it was still only 60% done and at a cost of $34,000.
Take it from me, it pays to plan.
Lesson # 4: Money
This is where things can get nasty. Having a great idea is one thing, but when money is involved things can get complicated.
The big problem lies in how the profits should be spent and how each partner should be paid. It’s important to remember that your business is NOT your personal bank. You should treat it as one of the partners that requires their own share of the profits. Essentially what you want to be doing is creating a fund for the business to use.
Your contracts upfront should be very clear how payments are to be made and when.
Lesson # 5: Focus On Your Strengths
Whether your partnership is with two or five people, each person should bring something different to the table. Maybe one is good at marketing, another sales. It is essential that the right person be put in a position where he can make the biggest impact. Decide early on who will be in charge of what tasks, and then they must be held responsible for the accomplishment of them.
The last thing you want to do is have incapable people in charge of certain tasks because it will inevitably lead to problems.
Partnerships Can Be Amazing
Apple, Uber, McDonald’s, Ben and Jerry’s, Twitter, Google, even Microsoft –all ultra-successful companies that started out as partnerships. The truth is though, most partnerships will fail.
Beware the five mistakes above and your next partnership might just have a fighting chance.