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The Partner PandemoniumWhen running your own business, especially on the "Net" the thought of having a partner to bounce ideas off of, help one another, and grow a business to its highest point and then take it even further sounds like a wonderful idea. However, it is not always what it is cracked up to be, since there could be some pitfalls along the way that can sometimes even ruin your business, your name, and all of your hopes and dreams in reference to that particular business. To make matters even worse, if your name is ruined, it will be much harder for one to "come back" to the place you've worked so hard to get to, and opening up another business might not matter, as you already have a "blemish" on your good name.
As we grow, we also learn, but sometimes, learning the hard way is a furious and very mean lesson to learn, but if you don't make the same mistake twice, you are one step ahead of the game! As they say, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me!
So what are the dos and don'ts of a partnership to be one may wonder? A very good question and not an easy one to answer. In my experience I can only give you the best advice that is humanely possible, but it is ultimately up to you to take this advice and use it to the best of your own ability to make sound and logical business decisions.
Before making any kind of a decision, and this may sound a bit illogical to some, ALWAYS go with your gut. Many people often go against their gut or intuition, if you will, because they want something to work out so badly, and/or they want to help others they neglect the very obvious signs that is staring them right in the face. While my own gut instincts are almost always correct, at roughly 99% right, that small tiny 1% that is left over is all that it takes to ruin your business and name in totality. Do NOT neglect your intuitive feelings! Use them to your advantage and you might just ovoid unnecessary pain, and heartache!
Check out your partner to be everywhere! Even more than that, check her out and her friends as well! If it is not a person you know for a very long time offline, make sure you do your due diligence, to find out if this person has a good reputation or not. While many would like to help people, forget it in this case, this is not about helping another person, this is business, and keep it as such. Many of us tend to mix personal feelings into this, either because they know a person for a very long time, via the Net, or because they want to help out someone, or both. Personally I am one who really loves to help others, but in the case of business, you MUST keep your personal feelings out of this mix. If you can not find sound information on a particular person then ask around if you must. Ask this person for references if you have to, do anything and everything that you can to make sure this person is an honest and trustworthy individual that is on YOUR PAGE completely. Just like a marriage, without trust there is absolutely NOTHING. And absolutely check out the people that this person is associated with. While this may not be true in all cases, in some cases YOU ARE who you are associated with.
Upon your decision to enter into a partnership, a legal contract must be written and signed by both parties as fast as humanely possible. Remember to dot all the I's and cross all the T's leaving nothing behind. Along with the above contract a confidentiality agreement must also be signed. What you do not want is your own trade secrets out in the open for all to see. All contracts must be legal and binding, and any breach of these contracts is legal cause for a partnership to dissolve.
The purpose of having a partner as stated above is more than what you think in most cases. While one partner may handle certain aspects of a business, the other partner may handle other aspects. The question remains, are they able to handle it? Are they able to be trusted? Are they capable, honest and trustworthy? This is where your due diligence comes into play, and you must NOT just take a persons word for it. While we would like to believe people, and give them the benefit of the doubt, unfortunately you simply can not do so when it comes to your businesses.
Is your partner to be, ethical and do they possess moral values? Now some can argue this subject, as being ethically sound and moral for the most part is up to the individual, but that is not entirely true. There are rules to follow on the "Net" that are not exactly written rules, but more so common knowledge rules on how to treat people that are inquiring, people that you manage, messages that are out-going to your private and public groups and so forth. If your partner to be is lacking in these areas, you will undoubtedly see it first hand. Can it be fixed? Yes it can be to a degree, but remember that a leopard can not change its spots. These are things to look for in your partner to be, whether it is personality, ethics, and just general normal behavior patterns.
Communication is any relationship, be it a partnership, a marriage, even a parent to child talk, is a must! This is a key point for any and all relationships in general and is a vital part of making any relationship work. We all strive for the best that we can be, but without certain important criteria, do not settle! It is your goal to make sure that whom you are partnering with meets to your own standards and nothing less. Bad things do happen to good people all of the time, but it is never too late to recoup your losses and regain what you've worked so very hard to achieve, but before you decide on which partner to choose make absolutely, positively certain, without any doubt in your mind, that you are choosing the person that is 100% right for you, and not because this person is there and available, or just needs a helping hand. Another analogy could be... give a person a finger and they take the entire hand. This is NOT what you want in a partnership. Everything must be equal, fair, and rules are to be set so that you both agree on them in totality, this is all a part of your initial partnership contract agreement.
I can not reiterate enough that, intuition, observing your partners to be tactics, and of course trust, are all very important parts of making your decision on whether to take on a
partner or not, but most of all, do not settle for anything less than what it takes to take your businesses to where it can and should be. While two heads are often better than one, if you choose the wrong partner, you are better off left alone, because only YOU are responsible for your own actions. This is not to say that partnerships do not work, they do, if you've found that rare person that meets your own criteria to its fullest. That too can be done if you follow the above aforementioned advice and ideas.
It is my hope and wish that this article will help those of you that want to form a business partnership! Do not wait for lessons learned, take advice from those who do have experience regarding this issue, and never rush into anything for fear that it will not be there again! If it is meant to be, it will be.
To all of our success!
Ellen Levinas, MVA
Ellen Levinas is a published writer and Founder of www.thesamplebag.com <http://www.thesamplebag.com/> , www.howtoguide.us <http://www.howtoguide.us/> & www.howtoguide.us/VA <http://www.howtoguide.us/VA> ; graduated from the University of Phoenix earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Business/E-Business, as well as being a Certified Master Virtual Assistant. Ellen is also the Creative Marketing Assistant for Cello In a Box® Company <http://www.celloinabox.com/781> , and is a WAHM of two.
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