Entrepreneurs: 4 Questions You Never Form Partnerships Without Asking

By Sam Turner

When you start most jobs you get an orientation and an employee handbook and there is generally a rule for everything and where there are no rules, there are guidelines. When you step out on your own however, it is not always clear what you should do, at least not as clear as it is when you have a job.

As an entrepreneur, you will often need to form mutually beneficial partnerships. Here are the four questions you must not enter a partnership without asking yourself:

  1. How can I help my potential partner? – A lot of people often make the mistake of approaching potential partners based on what they can gain from the partnership but don’t give as much consideration to what they are offering.
  2. What is my potential partner’s expectation? – Make sure that you understand your partner’s expectations and also make sure you can meet those expectations. Don’t be afraid to negotiate until you’re both feeling good about what will be expected of you.
  3. How can my potential partner help me? – Ideally, when you partner with someone, they should be adding something to your business that you may be challenged by or do not excel at. A great example is a partner who will inject some cash flow in your business when you have a great business but have exhausted your resources and need more cash flow.
  4. What are my expectations of my partner? – Be clear about what you expect from your partner and also make sure they are clear about it and agree to it. For example if you get a partner who provides cash flow, do they now participate in business decisions or do they remain silent and just get a share of the profits?

In addition to asking the right questions, you also need a partner who will have integrity, credibility and above all, you must only partner with someone if your instincts tell you it is a good idea. If your instincts are telling you something is wrong, pause and ask yourself some more questions and have more conversations to make sure that you and your potential partner are on the same page.

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