Very few companies are owned 50/50, most partnerships take a lower percentage like 9% or 14%, these investors are small equity partners, and you’re going to have more than one or two of these. So how do you know what to look for when selecting who you will trust and share portions of your beloved business with? Managing director Nikesh Patel of established London-based marketing firm Pantheon UK uncover the fundamentals to look for and effective strategies for building definite business partnerships.
There’s confusion about business partnerships, the idea that your only partner is the life long friend who thought of the business idea with you and invested half of the money, but this theory is for the history books. With so many businesses outsourcing to other firms, partnerships are no longer a two man band. Your partnership circle goes way beyond that. Even choosing who you do your marketing with, your accounts, compliance, lawyers, vendors, for example, you should be referring to these services as your partner’s, as you’re choosing to trust these people to work with, run and build your company. It’s not just somebody you do business with; you have important and specific conversations with these people, you are partnering together to help one another grow. Managing director Nikesh Patel of Pantheon UK suggests when you realise these relationships with outside businesses are your business partners, your relationships with them will improve and become stronger as you value it more.
Honesty and management with money are essential attributes when choosing a business partner. Also, the person must fulfil their given roles; otherwise a disconnection forms between partners and on begins to question if the other is sticking to the agreement and who is taking the credit for the work? Also, what are your non-negotiables? Both you and the person must outline the things neither are willing to negotiate, the standards you expect and will not settle for less than. As well as the non-negotiables, you should be asking this person what their long term visions are, what are their aspirations, even if it’s just to make money, at least they are honest, and you know to manage that relationship using rewards and figures. As well as covering these points, you need to find out what your potential partner’s values are and talk about your opposing strengths, what strengths will you bring to them and what strengths will they bring to you, what strengths do they have that you need.
The most effective way to get all of this information from your potential business partner is not to fire these questions in an email, or over a 10-minute lunch; you need to spend valuable time in their environment over a couple of days. Your time spent getting to know this person on a personal level is an investment, time will tell the truth about this person, if they put on an act in the first meeting, you will find out the reality of their intentions after more meetings with them. Managing director Nikesh Patel of Pantheon UK spends valuable one-on-one time with new partners, those being promoted and new employees. He invites their spouses and family to business functions, team evenings, etc. this is paramount for getting to know their background, and connecting with them on a deeper level. Nikesh Patel of Pantheon UK stresses how important it is that your partners loved ones understand the role they will play and the business they are investing in and that they get to know you, so they never resent you or your company when they’re upset that their spouse is working late, or overtime. Many finer details and efforts go into business underneath the red tape, it may seem like a lot of effort, but it should be enjoyed and recognised as creating lasting, fruitful relationships.