Business partnerships can be tough.
I co-founded HotPress Web with Steve Thiel in 1999. Last year, he and I started uGurus.
Most partnerships fail long before you get to open a second company. I can confidently say I have experience when it comes to keeping a partnership together and strong.
Not only that, but they tend to work better too. I am a salesman. Steve is an ops and process guy. About midway through our business history, we actually took personality tests. It turns out he is a lot more of a left-brain type, and I am more of a right.
He excels in creating systems and executing a process. I excel at crafting a vision and building a network of people. I could talk all day about our differences, but most of our differences are “opposites.”
This helps our whole be greater than the sum of its parts.
If you are considering a partnership to grow a web agency, I would first think about the qualities that exist in the other person, and determine whether there is enough of a contrast between you and your potential partner.
It is insanely helpful to have a voice that does not always agree with yours. Being able to play devil’s advocate with someone on all of your concepts and strategy development helps you pick better ideas.
Communication is Paramount
If you aren’t talking regularly, you are doing something wrong. Getting ideas and feedback out early and often keeps them from building up.
Misunderstanding is the foundation of resentment and conflict. In order to keep your ship moving with the wind, it is important to keep the dialogue flowing.
I recommend daily huddles to catch any tiny issues that have fallen through the cracks. Beyond that, I recommend meeting once a week, outside the office, for an hour or two.
Those out-of-office chats are where Steve and I have crafted some of our best ideas. When the laptops are off and the focus is on each other.
Rarely have we ever prepared a whole lot for any of our meetings. Sometimes we’ll want to present a big idea and we’ll put a lot of prep work in. Other times it is helpful to have a mind dump of all your ideas and concerns.
In the end it is all about becoming more profitable. Profit leads to a better life. Joining up with another individual to support each other in growth can help you achieve a more profitable and stable business.
On occasion I have been off my game. Whether for personal reasons or my mojo just fell away. During these times, having someone watch my back was life saving.
One of the things that blows me away is how many talented web designers, developers, and online marketers there are trying to go it alone.
Who knows if getting a business partner is right for you? But, I would love to hear your feedback.
What has your experience been with business partners?