Running a business can be hard. And when the bulk of management falls on you, it can be even harder to navigate. Many startups tend to run solo for many reasons, cost and capacity being some of the reasons. But there are benefits for having a corporate structure. With a business partner, you can share responsibility and risks at equal stakes in the profit. Plus, if you are lucky enough to find someone as committed as you are, then the results could be enormous.
On the flip side, without commitment, trust and loyalty, partnerships can become an added burden. The point is, for partnerships to work, there has to be a system of trust and accountability. If you currently have a business partner or thinking of going into a partnership, here are some structures you can put in place.
Have feedback meetings
Communication builds transparency and trust. Always encourage your business partner to come to you freely about their ideas on business operations. You should both create a system of feedback that enables you to critically assess assigned tasks and deliverables. This way if your partner has been slacking, they will most likely step up to the plate more and it will also show areas they’re struggling and may need assistance with.
Give deadlines for projects
Don’t leave project timelines open-ended. Don’t always assume your business partner will always pull their weight. We might not be as hard on them as we might be on an employee and this can leave things slipping through the cracks. Make sure your partnership is structured with specific timelines and expectations for team projects. Once in a while, check if they’re on the right track. Unless things will either get done at a remarkably slow pace or not get done at all.
Hire a consultant or accountability coach
Hire a third party that will keep you both accountable to each other and to them as well. It will take the load off having to constantly follow up and have awkward conversations of you. And allow you to focus on your work. It can also give you a second eye to help you determine if your business partner can be helped and do better or if you will have to sever the relationship. Hopefully, this will be the last resort.
Do you have a business partner? What structures have you put in place to stay accountable?