To partner or not to partner?

Insight #2

You’re thinking of partnering with a former coworker—someone you’ve worked with in another company. You reason that you got along well then, he’s a hard worker and he brings an expertise to the business that you don’t have, so it will be a perfect match.

Will that be enough to create a successful and sustainable business partnership? Not necessarily.

Take the case of Richard and Bill. After leaving their former company several years earlier, each formed their own company, in a similar field, but with unique niches. Two years later, while they were both successful, each wanted to take their company to the next level so they began a conversation about partnering.

They reasoned by merging their two companies they would be able to offer their market “one stop shopping” in the field of communications. They also assumed that having worked together before, they knew enough about each other to make it work so they took the plunge. Richard and Bill made it legal, created a new name for the company and sent notices out to their clients and industry.

Two years into the new partnership I was called in because frustrations were on the rise and things weren’t going “according to plan.” After two meetings they discovered they were not at all on the same page, when it came to their personal visions for the business, and their individual expectations for roles and responsibilities were completely different. They decided to dissolve the partnership.

Don’t assume, just because you’ve worked together before, you know your prospective partner on a deep enough level to create a successful business partnership.

Fortunately, Bill and Richard have remained friends, continue to enjoy success with their individual companies, and they refer business to each other when appropriate.

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