What Makes Business Partnerships Succeed? By Arnold Matimba
Business start-ups can be daunting, for example choosing whether to form a partnership or go it alone as a sole trader. Not all entrepreneurs are cut out to work in a partnership, but there have been some success stories, including Microsoft, Twitter, and Apple, which were formed by individuals with productive relationships.
Long-time friends, old school mates, or relatives build most partnerships and the key is in recognizing individual strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly the partners respect what the other brings to the partnership. Most partners have gone to run companies that have revolutionized the world.
Apple: When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak met in 1970, Wozniak was building a computer and Jobs saw a business opportunity to sell it. One had technical skills and the other business foresight to turn the computer into money. Today Apple Inc. designs and sells consumer electronics, such as the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad to name just a few.
Twitter: Evan Williams and Biz Stone worked together at Blogger before Google acquired it. Their mutual respect, ambition and camaraderie helped to keep them together and achieve business success. Today Twitter has over 500 million active users generating over 340 million tweets daily and has become one of the most visited websites.
Microsoft: Bill Gates and Paul Allen were childhood friends with a passion in computer programming. Their partnership succeeded because they shared an obsession in computers and passion for business. On 25 June 2012, Microsoft announced that it is paying $1.2 billion to buy the social network Yammer.
In order for a partnership to work the following must be adhered to:
Written and signed partnership agreement A lawyer qualified and well versed in business partnerships must draft the legal agreement. Every obligation must be clearly defined and written and agreed upon by all parties.
Shared capital instead of expenses Agree on an arrangement where expenses are shared in an associative arrangement, it makes it easier to walk away when things go wrong.
Integrity Ensure the person you are partnering with is full of integrity and is upright and has not spiraling debts that will tempt him/her to use company money.
Exit Strategy In the partnership agreement, define the exit strategy that allows either party to walk away from the partnership.
Here are 10 obstacles each and every entrepreneur should look out for.
- Lack of Integrity. Latin integritās meaning: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.This is the master key to success, without it your credibility vanishes.
- A know it all attitude. Sir Winston Churchill once said “Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” Unfortunately this is so true of so many entrepreneurs today. Sometimes being highly educated can prevent us from learning.
- Wrong selection of associates. This is very critical. Do not keep the company of negative, critical, cynical people they will pull you down. Surround yourself with upright, positive people who believe and inspire you. “If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you will never change the outcome.” Michael Jordan
- Lack of self-control. “There are many men whose tongues might govern multitudes if they could govern their tongues.” George D. Prentice. Control yourself and do away with negative habits and qualities. Make sure your tongue does not prevent you from succeeding in all you do.
- No Sense of Purpose. If you have no sense of purpose then you will jump from one activity to another with no success. That’s why successful people, who have a clear vision and goal in their life, are very few. “Looking good and dressing well is a necessity. Having a purpose in life is not.” Oscar Wilde
- Poor at building relationship. “Without relationships, no matter how much wealth, fame, power, prestige and seeming success by the standards and opinions of the world one has, happiness will constantly elude him.” Sidney Madwed. If you are poor at dealing with people, you will not be successful.
- Undeveloped Talent. We all have hidden talents, if we fail to discover and develop them, they will prevent us from growing. “Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” John Wooden.
- Procrastination. Lord Chesterfield said, “Know the true value of time; snatch, seize and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”
- Lack of drive. Often times people are good starters, but given up when they hit the first obstacle. Obstacles are a chance to refine and become better. “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.” Vincent T Lombardi
- Negativity. If you are negative then your whole world is negative. “I don’t have time to be negative.” Venus Williams.
By Arnold Muchi Matimba