There are two titles that I see getting thrown around way too freely these days: entrepreneurs and business partners. The former is a topic for another day but suffice it to say, entrepreneurship is a profession, not just a passion.
Regarding the latter, there are legal reasons to be a bit more discerning about your use of the term “business partner” or, more specifically, “partnership”. I’ll leave that for your lawyer to advise you … for legal reasons, of course. 😉
Here are 5 simple rules of the road that will help you keep your partnersh…err…business relationship out of the ditch:
Rule 1: Don’t partner just to partner, pardner. Don’t partner with someone unless they have a set of skills, relationships, or other value you absolutely need but that you don’t have the time or money to build or buy. Simple as that.
Rule 2: Read Rule 1 again. Seriously.
Rule 3: Bring something extraordinary to the table. You want great business partners? Be great yourself. What is it exactly that you do as well or better than anyone else you know? What business-related capability are you a master craftsman? It isn’t likely to be more than an item or two unless you’re extremely gifted or otherwise have been on this earth long enough to develop your talents.
Rule 4: Own your turf, not the other guy’s. Do what you do well and let the other person/people do their thing. Again…simple, right? Trust me, on more than one occasion you will have the ball hog or curious cat on your team or in your network that makes it their business to be in your business. Don’t. Be. That. Guy. (or “Gal.”)
Rule 5 (4, if you’re a stickler): Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Make sure communication is done regularly, openly, honestly, and in the right context. Man! Does this sound like marriage, or what?!). Ummm…it kinda-sorta is. Rule 1 ringing a bell?
That’s it. Let me know what you think and good luck out there.