Most Businesses Need Partners

The simple fact is that (almost) none of us are perfect. We all have special talents and skills. And we all have certain limitations. One person may be an outstanding technology person, but have no idea about marketing. Another may be a whiz at accounting and finance, but not really understand how to manage and motivate people.

What we talk about in this conversation is what the most important elements are for a successful partnership. The first requirement is trust, and the second is good communication. People can learn from others – but only if they listen and are open minded to the advice the other person has to offer.

Many people will tell you that partners will let you down, and partnerships almost always fail. It’s not hard to find articles from business magazines telling you why it’s foolish to count on partners to help you succeed in business. Here’s just one example:

But there are a number of conditions that can promote the success of a partnership. Here’s a great article from “Entrepreneur” magazine that speaks not in terms of “things to do”, but rather behaviors to adopt to enhance your chances of working effectively in the confines of a team environment.

This may not come naturally to many entrepreneurs, who may be used to working alone – at all hours of the night! – until they get something “just right” and to their liking. But working with partners requires mostly respect and communication. For additional insights, check out the linked article:

When you’ve found the right partners to start your business, that’s the first step. But to ensure that the way the business is really operated once it’s open and underway, make sure you spell everything out in a Shareholders Agreement or an Operating Agreement. Everyone starts a business with hope and enthusiasm.

Having a legally enforceable agreement that is like the “ground rules” for how the business will be run avoids a lot of problems further down the road among the partners. Spend a few dollars more when you’re starting out in business, and you’ll avoid spending a LOT more later on, if your business winds up in a messy divorce, because the partners didn’t really agree on the roles at the very beginning.

For more advice, or help setting up these kinds of organizational documents for your new business, contact me at or call me at (315) 877-1741. Thank you.

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