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The potential pitfalls of partnership

For the past 15 months I have been working with a new business partner. Kevin McDonald (otherwise known as Mack) and I had spoken about partnering on a project for sometime prior to that. However we both understandably, were very cautious about leaping into a formal partnership.

We have both seen business partnerships go horribly pear-shaped. After-all, a business partnership is not unlike a marriage. And before any of us (well most of us) rush into a marriage, there is considerable testing of the waters. There’s often the first dates, the meeting of each other’s friends, the allocation of space in an undie draw (Mack & I skipped that bit), the meeting of the parents, the moving in together, the engagement and finally the wedding. And OK yes; on some occasions that’s followed by the un-wedding…

The point is, a whole heap of compatibility checking takes place before locking into a formal agreement. Mack and I are only now formally partnering into Actual to Ideal™. We operated for the first year under a verbal statement of understanding, and part of that understanding was that we would openly and frequently discuss all the potentially prickly stuff. You know – the money, responsibility, expectations, intellectual property, assets, workload etc.… stuff. And following each discussion, we would make notes and confirm that we agreed with each other’s truth.

Whilst it can be difficult to talk about the difficult things, it’s far easier talking about them before they actually occur rather than dealing with them in the heat of conflict. The notes we took over this time are now forming the basis for our formal partnership agreements. And whilst we are not expecting our partnership to be without bumps along the journey, we have tried and tested each other sufficiently enough to be confident that we are on the same page, in the same chapter of the same book.

If you are currently in a partnership and you have not had some of those crucial discussions, go get your partner, sit them down and have a ‘how do we improve/save this relationship – before it’s too late’ type discussion.

Yours in prosperity and fun

Jeff Austin

Actual To Ideal

Business Coach Bunbury

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