Before creating a business partnership it is important to understand that it is like any other relationship; it is a marriage between individuals united in the same purpose and mission. And like any other relationship, if there is incompatibility in values or long-term vision or anything that can cause conflict, it will destroy the relationship.

I will share a horror story about the second partnership I ever created. It was in North Carolina and an individual approached me regarding starting a Digital Advertising and Technology company. We spent about eight months building a business plan and a partnership team, and we were off and running. But before the business really got off the ground, there was in-fighting between the partners. We could not agree on the money and compensation. We could not agree on the lifestyle that we all wanted to lead as we interacted with the business. There were some partners that were pulling more weight than others. Before long, the partnership dissolved badly. Adverse things happened to two of the other partners, and I was left with a debt of about $40,000.

The lesson to learn is that it is critical when creating a partnership to understand your goals and future vision for the business as well as your partners’ focus and future vision. A question I ask that helps identify the long term focus and vision of the business is based on Dan Sullivan’s Question:

If we were having this discussion three years from now, and you were looking back over those three years, what has to happen in your life – personally and professionally – for you to feel happy with your progress?

Answer that question in terms of your partnership. Consider how big you want the business to be and what role, both long-term and short-term, do you want to have in getting the business there? Speak to your partners and ask them the question and listen to their answer. Is it in alignment with yours? These questions are useful if you are considering a new professional partnership or if you are in the midst of a business partnership that is not going as well as you imagined.

I am currently involved in four different partnerships. I enjoy partnerships because it allows me to be able to have the flexibility to do what I am good at while sharing the ownership responsibility and investment with other partners. They get to where they want to go and I do too.

Author's Bio: 

Hugh Stewart is not only a business coach; he is a business owner with extensive experience in a variety of industries. He has been involved in 17 businesses within the last ten years. Leveraging his knowledge of time and systems, and his understanding of working with employees, partners, and contractors, he was able to take one of his businesses from $7 million a year in revenue to $44 million a year in revenue; all with only 13 employees and working only 10-12 hours a week.