There is much more to a business partnership than sharing a great idea and having complementary skills, although that is a great place to start. The relationship between partners is the key to the success of the business, and when their relationship is compromised, so is the business.
It is not unusual following the startup excitement and possible success, that the partners begin feeling annoyed with each other. They discover beyond the initial impressions of being well suited, there is more and some of it is annoying or downright maddening. For example, you find out that your partner is a workaholic and not happy that you prefer taking time to play? Or you are the workaholic and you see that your partner does not devote the same energy to business as you do.
Or your partner lets you know that he feels his role in the business is much more important than yours and wants additional compensation and recognition? Or you both function by putting out fires and rarely sit down and have a conversation.
These are all indications that we are human. No two people are the same and there is no perfect match.
When each of these situations and others arise, you have choices. You can argue, you can harbor resentment that grows, you can avoid each other and let things happen as they will. In each of these your relationship is taking a downward spiral that eventually can lead to a painful and expensive breakup. Or at best, you are leaving good money on the table because instead of focusing on the business, your attention is being diverted by negative emotions that drain.
Or you can make a better choice. You can talk about it to find ways to nip it in the bud and resolve the problem. In order to do this, there are some basic requirements.
Commitment both to the partnership and to the business is essential. In addition to commitment you need respect for each other and trust. If you have these three things in your relationship, you can work out most everything that is a threat to your partnership.
However, if emotions are too high and you cannot do this on your own, engage an expert objective outsider, (not a family member or friend) such as a coach or expert in your industry to facilitate these conversations until emotions are contained and you are back on track.
There are many people who benefit from your success in business and lose if you fail. Beyond the partners, there are employees, vendors, clients, the community in which you reside and contribute and of course, family members and friends, some of whom may have invested financially in the business and others who offer different support. A new economy is emerging that will be built on the success of small and mid-size businesses offering jobs and needed services. A lot is riding on the success of your partnership. Don’t squander your time, efforts, money, self-esteem and your dream because you don’t know how to have the necessary conversations. There is help.