Contributed by Kym Huynh, an EO Melbourne member, member of the EO Global Communications Committee, and co-founder of WeTeachMe. Kim is fascinated by entrepreneurs and their journey, so she asks EO members from different chapters to share their experiences. Read his previous posts about what EO members want non-entrepreneurs to know about entrepreneurs and how EO members define the impact of success and core values.
Choose a partner with the opposite skill set
The best business partnerships for me have been with partners who have the complete opposite skills.
I previously owned a construction company. My partners focus on construction, margins, operations and supplier management where I focus on strategy, business development, HR and finance. It works so well. I would never partner with someone who has the same skills as me.
– Ron Lavat, founder of Eo Atlantic Canada, Connolly Owens
There are advantages to depth over width
My business partnership has given me the most powerful gift of deeper experience than breadth.
Because I had someone who relied on me and gave me so much, I had no choice but to jump on the ship whenever I wanted a new experience.
This partnership has taught me that one gets the most out of life when one goes deeper. Learning something from it – resilience and how to live a meaningful life – is invaluable.
ুইYou are the founder of Cordemans, Eo Melbourne, Koh Living
There is no fault. Just learning.
Nick Bell and I have been business partners for 10 years, and friends for a long time. The key to our success is our friendship is stronger than our business partnership.
We disagreed, but:
- We are ready to let our decisions not be driven by ego
- We are ready to lead others; And
- If any of us make a mistake or fail, we consider it part of the journey.
There is no fault, just learning.
There will always be ups and downs. You’re working with someone who knows that “having your back” makes you stronger and stronger, makes you bolder and makes it easier to overcome the inevitable challenges. Business is like a game, and a champion team will always beat a team of champions.
The worst business partnership I’ve ever seen is when greed, ego and jealousy overwhelmed the goal of creating a great business where both partners are successful. The result? A business partner has left because they have decided that the negativity of their lives is not worth a few million dollars.
– Alex Louis, EO Melbourne and founder of AppScore
Walking away was the best thing I ever did
A few years ago, I went against my gut feeling and agreed to a new joint partnership with someone with whom I had a negative experience. On paper, it was a match made in heaven and an easy way between companies from both a commercial and a positional perspective.
This joint venture, and what was sold to me, did not match the reality. So when I was given the chance to move away, I did! And that was the best thing I’ve ever done.
When your gut tells you to leave, do it – no matter how interesting the situation or how many people tell you otherwise.
– Andrea Grisdale, EO Italy, founder and CEO of IC Bellagio
The best partners help each other succeed
Partnership is like marriage; They start with the best intentions, but over time the spark may go off. That’s when things started to break down. Like a good marriage, partnership requires work from both parties.
Whenever I’ve had the experience of breaking up a partnership, it has been a matter of always wanting a party and not taking it. Over time you start to feel accustomed and then you hate the relationship.
The best partnership is where both parties spend time helping each other succeed. It works and takes time, but like all great long-term partnerships, it can be valuable.
– David Fastuka, EO Melbourne, founder of Locomotive
Partnerships must start with aligned values.
The success or failure of a business partnership begins and ends with values.
When there is an alignment of values, there is a strong foundation of trust and respect, an environment with ample opportunity to build deep bonds and, consequently, an resilience to the inevitable storm weather.
When I evaluate a potential business partnership, I ask myself:
- My potential business partner and I see the world through the same lens?
- My potential business partner and do I live and feel the same way?
- Are our methods and decision-making guided by similar values?
- Do my potential business partners and I live and breathe the same values?
- What’s the difference between my values and my potential business partners? Can these differences coexist peacefully?
- What are some things I appreciate and don’t appreciate about my potential business partner? If I dig deeper, what values do they indicate or reveal? What is the difference cogent with my values?
Building a business requires a lot of time and energy. Sharing values is critical, and one forms the basis of what one creates. If I decide to spend a lot of time and energy to ensure that they are not wasted, I will make sure to get the right foundation (value) first and foremost.
– Kym Huynh, EO Melbourne, founder of WeTeachMe
Plan for it to fail – disagreements will get you right
Many business partnerships are formed because your partner is your friend. Because family and kids have been friends before the age of 21, adversity is against the survival of the partnership.
If you both have the same skills, what have you achieved? You have two paychecks to cover instead of one.
What you dream at the age of 21 is completely different from your age of 30 and you have the same obligations as a lifelong partner or child.
I am personally against business partnerships, at any age. It just becomes another obstacle, and you are always compromising, otherwise, you will end up as annoyed and hostile.
If you can enter into a business partnership, the most important clause is the “exit” clause. Plan that it will fail, because you will be fine.
– Tony Falkenstein, EO New Zealand, founder and CEO of Just Life Group and CEO of Just Water
Find the silver lining
I inherited the nightmare of a business partner, which inspired me to start my new business.
I learned that there is a silver lining in every cloud. I thank them now for what I have today (even though they don’t know it), and because of the situation, I’ve started to get really emotional about it.
Silver lining or positive look; It allows us to forgive and not feel victimized.
– Founder of Ai-Ling Wong, EO Malaysia and The Decorateur