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How to Create a Successful Business Partnership

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The key to all success in business partnerships is communication. Without clear and consistent communication, your business will not grow and succeed. You will miss opportunities, miscalculate your partner’s expectations, and potentially move into opposite directions. It’s a blueprint for failure. Instead, follow the simple path: communicate.

That’s it. In over twenty years in business, capitalizing on our strengths in multiple income streams, culminating in Easier Accounting and Real Business Owners, Kale Goodman and I have found communication to be the key to make or break our day-to-day operations and our long-term success. 

Let’s look at several scenarios in partnerships to see how this plays out. As you read, picture your own business in these situations, and grab keys to avoid major mistakes and create wins.

Situation 1: Partners who “get each other” too well

Maybe you’ve worked together for years, like Kale and I. Or maybe you’ve been friends for a long time before teaming up. Either way, you now take each other for granted. You are both too busy making the business run. You don’t communicate the same way as you used to. At the beginning, it was easy. Maybe you are like us in our early days. You spend 90% of the time making deals and having fun, and 10% of the time doing the hard-knuckled decisions. Now, you just don’t have the same time anymore. 

Or, maybe it’s a step further. Maybe you trust each other too much. There’s a disconnect because there is so much trust between two people. You may think that whatever he’s doing, it’s going to be good. You figure you can read your partner’s mind. You stop asking questions and checking in with each other. 

But, the best intentions don’t guarantee the best results. A partnership should become a camaraderie where two people knowingly divide and conquer. It can’t be that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. The best results come from clear communication.

One specific problem that can come from this familiarity is overcommitment. Overextending leads to disappointment. You start making decisions independently, assuming you can make it all happen because there is more than one of you. You just keep saying yes. You’ll run out of steam for all of those yesses. Then everyone is frustrated, and no one wins. 

Success does not allow for such imbalance. Partnerships have to establish a flow of communication that sets up boundaries for what one can and cannot take on, so that no one leaves disappointed.

Situation 2: Partners who have “too many” ideas running wild

You have tons of ideas, but haven’t spent the time either sitting down to implement them or deciding who is going to run with them. Partnerships are usually forged by two individuals who are like iron sharpening iron. They make each other better. Often, they think a lot alike, but they may have different perspectives on the ideas, how to implement them, or where to go with them.

The question, then, becomes: who runs with a new idea? How does it shake out? If it is going to be successful, these questions must be answered before the idea begins to fly, not on the fly. Otherwise, it could end in a lot of disagreement and wasted time. Since time is money in our world, communication must happen first to succeed.

“The best partnerships aren’t dependent on a mere common goal but on a shared path of equality, desire, and no small amount of passion” – Sarah MacLean

Situation 3: Partners who make assumptions about their vision

Let’s say the present or the future is in jeopardy. What if the vision is changing for one of the partners? You can’t win the game if one player decides to peace out and jump to another game altogether. What if he or she wants another end result?

The partners begin drifting apart. It may not even be a conscious decision to go different directions. The currency of life could make a drift happen. But perhaps they do want to throw in the towel. 

You’ve got to come back together and agree to the same goal, the same North Star. Do you have the same goal for the next year? The next 3 years? The next 5? What is the vision for expansion and growth? How do you want to disrupt the industry? If you fail to communicate, each party might start to wonder if the other partner is really on the same page. 

That uncertainty creates friction. Frustration builds up, seeps into relationships and decision-making. It sucks the life out of the partnership. Communication is king. So communicate. It’s not complicated.

Situation 4:  Partners who run on autopilot, without auditing for success

One must communicate to keep the business strong. Once you get to a certain level, it’s easy to start making assumptions and let the company coast a bit. It’s not exactly being lazy. It’s just being comfortable with the systems you put in place. The problem is you might find areas that just aren’t working anymore, and yet no one is taking the time to communicate about how to get rid of them. It only takes a moment to speak with your business partner to assess what parts of the business are working, and what parts are holding it back. 

Often, it’s time to cut the fat. You’ve got to learn to serve at the highest level for the highest good of your clients. Ultimately, that serves both your clients and your business best. It serves you best. That means you and your partner must communicate to streamline. Outsource. Eliminate. 

Often this requires humility. Partnership is not about ego. It’s actually about continual refinement and willingness to grow. You can’t be a lone wolf in a business and expect to lead the pack. Leaders are servers, and often the best leaders communicate in a way that encourages others to speak up so that they don’t miss something important in the day-to-day operations. 

I want to know if there’s something I could do better that I’m not doing, even as an 7-figure earner and owner of a busines that does 8 figures in revenue. Simple solutions can be chosen in a matter of minutes if you talk with your partner with the goal to succeed.

In the end, all business and non-business partnerships boil down to a few simple questions. If we narrow down our vision, clarify and sync up, we can be the best of the best in our field, regardless of the economy or market trends. Sit down and have a conversation. Ask each other: what are your intentions? Why do you have those intentions? Why is this project or goal a priority? When you communicate the answers to those questions, you can understand perspectives and move forward together. A business partnership leads to success by knowing each others’ strengths, sharing a vision, cutting the fat, and most of all, clearly communicating

Trevor Cowley is a 37-year-old serial entrepreneur, investor, and co-owner of Easier Accounting, 60 Day Credit Repair, and an Everbowl franchise. He’s also the co-host of a business podcast that's ranked in the top 1% in the world called, Real Business Owners with his business partner Kale. The Real Business Owners Instagram page has grown to over 130k followers in just two short years and continues to grow day after day. Trevor's mission is to make a positive impact in the entrepreneur space by giving advice to those who are going through the struggles of owning a business. Trevor is passionate about entrepreneurship and plans to continue seeking opportunities that will make a positive impact on his life and others.

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?

Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.

Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

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This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

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