Perhaps you should get a partner to share the responsibility and expense. Partnerships seem like a practical way to share the load, responsibility and risk…but are they? Business partnerships are never easy, in fact they are a lot like marriage. Both are big, life-changing relationships that require mutual trust and respect, they both involve money and both require a conscious choice, every day, to continue working towards a common goal with someone other than yourself.

The reality of business partnerships

The reality is marriages are more successful than business partnerships. 50% of marriages fail, whereas 80% of business partnerships fail. Even if you believe that a business partnership is the right model for you, how do you find the right partner? Are you willing to risk family relationships or friendships? Do you use business networks or third parties to identify potential partners? Is there such a thing as the perfect partner? At least in a marriage, love is involved. In business partnerships the squabbles are nakedly openly and all about control, direction, sharing of time, responsibilities and (most divisive of all) money. When is the last time you saw a partnership that worked? Even if you found one good partner, will you be that lucky in expanding to numerous locations? The odds are not in your favour.

In defence of business partnerships

An 80% failure rate for business partnerships is a reality but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the idea of partnerships all together. The key to building partnerships is taking emotion out of the decision-making process. Most people go into partnerships with unrealistic expectations and more often than not, different understandings of the roles and responsibilities of their partners. Partnerships are very much like other relationships; in the early days people are presenting the ‘best versions’ of themselves.

Good fences make good neighbours

The key to building successful partnerships is the inverse to a successful marriage. Have all of the arguments before you sign the documents. Remember, this is a primarily financial decision, even if you have loftier ambitions. The other secret to successful partnerships is creating the paper trail that will protect all partners, even from unseen circumstances. It’s a much cheaper alternative to create the paperwork up front than it is to defend a poorly constructed business partnership in court. If you have your heart set on a business partnership, DST retail can help you develop a business partnership that is more likely to endure and give all partners a clear exist strategy.