If you read my article How Many Meetings Do Business Partners Need To Have? about why it is important for business partners to meet regularly, at least once a week, you may think you don’t have enough to talk about. Today’s article is about what you should discuss in those meetings to make them worthwhile, interesting and inspiring, where important things get accomplished and each partner stays knowledgeable about their business.
There are different categories of meetings and the agenda will depend on where you are in your partnership and the state of the business.
One category is to set the foundation of how your business is to look. If you are just starting hopefully you have the Business Partnership Agreement Template I wrote in front of you and are using it as a guide to your conversations and decision making. (Please don’t use a lawyer written or any boilerplate agreement, both mostly designed for a breakup where someone wins and another loses.) I wrote the Business Partnership Agreement Template to be uniquely personal to you and structured for long term success with a win/win exit strategy.
You will need a few meetings to complete all the areas in the Agreement. When you are through you will have created a picture and a plan of the way you want your business to look for the long term and as a bonus, you will have practiced communicating with your partner and now know each other well.
Follow the Partnership Agreement with my What Ifs Scenario Handbook preparing for the unexpected. This is a good time to do it rather than to wait for the crisis and have to make decisions in an atmosphere of strong emotions.
Make sure that you revisit your Agreement and your What If decisions at least annually to make changes that keep up with your evolving business and changing times.
The second category is a 6 month or yearly meeting to evaluate what you have achieved in relationship to goals, setting new ones, and discussing issues that need new decisions. This meeting should also focus on making modification or changes to your Partnership Agreement.
The third category refers to weekly meetings to discuss day to day and month to month running of the business.
Decide upon the frequency which you discuss each topic and create clear agendas. Schedule extra meetings if needed.Conduct the meetings with respect for each other’s time. Keep an open mind by listening well , clarifying what has been said and giving serious consideration to other points of view than your own.
Following is a list of topics for discussion at your regular meetings. Not everything on this list will apply to your business and there may be some things that are not here, so add them.
Sales and marketing
Employee issues/ Team building
Target of Ideal customers and competitors
Do a SWOT analysis and use it to plan
Personal issues between you
Changes in attitude towards the business. Do you both (all) still love it?
Deal with the unexpected scenarios
I’m sure you can see that each one of these categories is crucial to the overall high functioning of your business. Why would you ignore discussing them? If one of you or someone else on your team is in charge of any of these areas, you, as an owner still must know what’s going on and be involved in the decision making at some level. Don’t be the partnership shocked to find their best client is gone. Don’t find out that you have been overpaying a supplier because someone didn’t do due diligence in their search for a source. Don’t have your lack of meetings with managers and teams result in breakdowns, lack of efficiency and coordination between your design, sales and marketing groups.
If you want your business to function at its highest level as a well-oiled machine, don’t be in the dark about any aspect. This is not micro-managing. This is smart being in the know about the big picture.