When I got into my first business partnership we didn’t exchange vows or perform any ritualistic ceremony. We signed some papers at Bank of America and had lunch afterwards. That was it.
There aren’t any “till death do us part” type of transactions between business partners. But maybe there should be! I know there are legal documents partners sign, but none go deep into what’s necessary to keep and grow a partnership.
I propose there are 5 essential promises we should make as business partners.
we’ll pursue each other: remember the convincing it took to even make them your partner? Remember the wining and dining, the drinks at the bar, the things you did to sell the vision? We gotta keep doing those things.
we’ll keep one partnership: I don’t know what it’s like to be in two partnerships at the same time. If ONE was more work than I could handle, I came imagine two. You can ‘invest’ in other businesses, do joint ventures, dabble in real estate and trade stocks all at the same time…but its going to be challenging to have multiple proper business partnerships and a private life. Something is going to fail.
we’ll believe the best of each other: we’re all a piece of artwork being sculpted until the day we die. It means we’re going to be better tomorrow than today. Just because I didn’t like some of my partners traits today doesn’t mean I shouldn’t believe the best for him today. With this attitude, then I will treat him great today. If not, I’ll have anger and resentment towards him.
we will be the definition of partners: first off, we signed a partnership agreement. That needs to always be honored. Second, we share equally in the work, success and failure.
the partnership is my 2nd or 3rd priority: after your relationship with God, the partnership with your spouse is next. If there’s no spouse, then you’re married to the business partners you’re with. And just like we give God priority in our lives, your partners get your priority. You pick up their calls always, ask how they are doing, care about them more than the business itself, and want to serve them wholeheartedly.
Consider each of these promises as you work through the issues of your partnership. If you have problems today its likely because one or all of the promises above have not been addressed and/or kept.
Imagine a world where we actually incorporate tangible ways to live out these promises. Each represent areas of potential growth in the business partnership if you can master them. We might be strong in one or two, but there’s always improvements than can be made.
Remember, we’re all sculptures being fashioned daily.