5 Lessons learned from working with partners

Working with partners can be challenging.

I recently bowed out of 4 separate partnership deals. I reviewed everything I was doing at the end of the year and anything that wasn’t working I dropped it.

When you do this and partners are involved you have to be careful.

Hell, I have to be careful what I say in this because they are going to read it.

And I don’t have any specific gripes against any of them.

But I do have some lessons.

Lesson #1: Have a contract. I don’t care if they are family, friends or complete strangers. Have a contract. The chance of a joint venture failing is 100% if there is no contract. 50/50 if you do. I learned this many years ago and every single JV had a contract. Patting myself on the back.

Lesson #2: Ask the question “What if my partner doesn’t pull their weight?” before you start. Determine before you get in how you can get out. I’m very action oriented so I do my part every single time. I’m not worried about me. I’m worried about them. So many JV I’ve been in the other partner doesn’t do a thing. Not a little, I mean nothing. Do whatever you need to do to avoid the “it cost me money to do the deal”. I’ve gotten better about this over time by learning from my failures.

Lesson #3: Give it a time period (let’s say 6 months, but that depends on the niche and deal) and if it is not working for any reason get out. If it’s not going to work in a reasonable amount of time it never will. Dump it and move on.

Lesson #4: If it isn’t fun get out. The more fun it is the more money is made. So if it isn’t fun get rid of it. This is a big lesson.

Lesson #5: Get out gracefully and don’t argue with your partner. Don’t blame. Now stick up for yourself if they start blabbing things that are not true. Tell them the facts. But it does no one any good getting personal and blaming people. Don’t be spineless though it the split starting going south.  Some people only respond to raised voices, just don’t be the first to do it. You can learn from it and look out for things in the future that you don’t want to happen. Change your contract and structure to fix things that happened, but don’t start a fight. Just get out. You’re not required to even give a reason.

P.S. Talking on the phone with your partner is way better than having your assistant send an email telling them of the end of a deal. I haven’t done this but had it done to me. Not cool. Have a backbone and talk on the phone, just nicely.

P.P.S. Hope you enjoyed those lessons. What have you learned about working with partners? Discuss below in the comments.

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