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Business Partnerships

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Published On : 01-31-2008
Author : Steve Donegan

Why do people have business partners? There are lots of reasons really. Maybe you need financial backing or assistance, expertise that you don't have, someone to share the workload with. There is a long list of reasons. It is really important to seriously consider who you partner with (if you feel like you need one) before you jump into things. Once a business gets rolling, everyone becomes more and more tied emotionally and financially to the company. Changing your mind later can be a major problem, and likely an expensive one too.

Like most businesses, The Plan Collection requires a lot of work on a daily basis; like accounting, data entry, customer service, record keeping, industry knowledge and experience, advertising and so on that we will call business management. It also requires a lot of technical expertise to develop the kind of software that can make a huge database of house plans work well. The managment end of our business plays an important roll because it sees first hand the needs, shortcomings and successes of the business. However, it can't capitalize on this first hand experience without the help of a good technical partner. I'm lucky to have a partner who is very good at the technical end. I trust him. He knows what he is doing. We share the same vision about our business. At the same time, I think he trusts and respects me and our employees even though we ask the world of him sometimes. Well, he has to. Without everyone in the office we couldn't generate revenue which ultimately helps pay bills. He always tries to implement improvements I suggest (which is pretty much on a daily basis). Some of my requests are simple.. some are technically a Mt. Everest I am sure. It is really important to have this mutual trust and confidence in your partner, and share the same vision and I'll tell you why.

My partner Justin and I have known each other for quite some time and I guess we are what you would call entreprenurial minded. A few years ago the two of us teamed up with another friend and formed the technical end of a partnership with another company. We had big ideas for a new business we were sure would succeed. We soon found that there was a problem in our new partership. Though everyone had good intentions, we [technical end] spent a lot of money developing the idea while the managment/business end didn't share the same vision, excitement, or - unfortunately - the cost. After spending a lot of our own resources and feeling sick about it, we disolved the partnership and took a big loss. We learned an expensive lesson. We jumped into a partnership without clear roles and expectations. Our excitement about a new big idea overpowered our common sense to create a good business plan. It was an expensive lesson that we wished we could have learned for a lot less money.

Recently, I have had to be away from the office much more than I would like due to medical conditions in my family. Really, I'd like to be in the office. Just a normal full day would be great. Unfortunately my mind, and time is occupied mostly with my family's situation and not so much work. As a result I am probably not being the best business partner that I could be. Justin has been very supportive throughout which has reiterated to me the importance of choosing a good partner with valuable skills and mutual respect. This has been very fortunate for me and my family. Done being sappy. And now you see the thought processes that prompted an article about choosing a business partner.

So as you plan out the launch of your new business, remember to choose your partners wisely and make a good business plan. We have had experience in both methods of business start-up and I prefer the well planned, partners well chosen route. But thats just me.

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