Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Lord, I need a partner
So, you have searched your brain.You have double checked your business plan too. You have just scrutinized your bank statement. Something is wrong. You need an answer, and an answer fast. You have come up with all the justifications for you r choice. You just need to act now. So the search begins. A search for a partner. (This, my friends, is a business column. No lonely hearts here. We are talking business partners.)
Just like the social scene. People who fit in to what you had in mind are not far off. I mean, they are people we see every day. People we admire, people we pray we emulate (sometimes.)We could even share a church. Your search probably starts from your phone. You check the names and appraise them. You write them down, with notes on the side. Pros and cons against each. You could also ask around for a perfect fit. You are looking for people who are a bit like you .You think alike. The ambitions are alike, and they make great partners.
Maybe you succeed, maybe you don’t, but you try again, till you get one, or two. Business life, just like social life can get lonely at times. It also has that canny habit of making you feel insecure, a tad unfulfilled, in need of more company, or even thinking heads. Sometimes more hands.
The truth is partners are worth their value in gold. Well selected, that is. They make hard life a walk in the park. They make hard situations easy. They financial support makes friends out of creditors....and life doesn't seem so lonely after all. So every one’s prayer is that they be directed in their steps to find their perfect partner. Say a prayer before you start the process. You don’t want to choose wrong.
Because entrepreneurship is not just about money, and how many trucks you can fill with it, getting a business partner cannot just be about how much money you are going to make. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, a haven of sorts for people who think alike and cherish the same things in life. The freedom, that comes with directing your thoughts and operations. The creativity, finding solutions and who are we kidding, the money. But it is not just the money. In cases where you may have failed or ignored to consider the fact that you are stuck with this person almost for life, you have my pity and prayers too. You will need them.
There are going to be nasty situations where you don't agree, where their opinion is theirs alone, and because there is money involved, such arguments, are more like fights. Forget how we fought when we were young, adult fights are more long term and consequences maybe dire. You need to find someone who you share something with other than that business. In fact the business and the fact that you are partners should be a result of your other relationship, not the other way round. You need a friend, someone who understands you and vice- versa and someone with principles you can rely on.
You see, business comes out of character. Our business takes on our persona. If you are geek of some sort, your business smells the same (yeah, smells geeky, if you like). If you are a friendly person, who loves people, people around your business feel that trait on interaction. Therefore, you are not just doing yourself a favor, you are setting a good foundation for employees, clients and all stakeholders in doing your very best to get the very best partner. Someone who complements you .Someone whose strengths back up your weaknesses and someone you will want around you and your family even after business hours.
Because, my friend, if you ever get unlucky or pretty silly and end up with the wrong partner, you are in for a long ugly marriage.