It’s every entrepreneur’s dream while starting or even growing their business that they will be able to grow their ventures to become successful. We all want at some point to be the Mark Zuckerbergs or the Bill Gates of this world.
In one way or another, we never anticipate in our businesses failing and that is why we normally put together strategies and plans that help us grow and make a difference.
One of the fastest routes to achieve our strategies or our long-term goals is through forging powerful partnerships. For example, Mark Zuckerberg might have built a website and a social networking space. However, understanding how Facebook became a business required the introduction of a new character to the narrative, Sheryl Sandberg. This goes to show how important it is to forge the right partnerships.
Their partnership has helped build Facebook into a company worth more than $500 billion one of just six in the world and drove Zuckerberg and Sandberg to net worths of $69 billion and $1.5 billion respectively, per Forbes.
Locally companies like Twiga Foods who were a member of Nairobi Garage, have flourished thanks to the right partnerships. Since its launch in 2014 by Peter Njonjo and Grant Brooke, the company has grown to hit over 400 employees and has secured about 19 investors. The company now set sights on Mombasa and other major cities in Africa such as Abuja, Dar es Salaam, Addis Ababa, Lagos and Port Harcourt.
These examples just go to show how business partnerships can range from a direct business partner, such as a co-founder, to advisors and mentors or strategic business partnerships, where each person or company benefits from the formal or informal alliance.
However, just like any casual partnership from friendships, relationships, marriage, partnerships start off with hearts, roses and dreams, however, if not handled carefully business partnerships can quickly turn into heartbreak, anger, lawsuits and bankruptcy.
So how do you find the right partnerships and develop them into productive and profitable relationships? What are some considerations that you need to put in place when looking business partnerships?
With the rise of social media, it’s easier to connect with people. However, finding the right partner on these platforms can be tricky. Attending networking events can also be a great way of making lasting connections with like-minded people.
For example at Nairobi Garage we host a number of networking events including After Office Hours, MEET and Workshops that help entrepreneurs meet and connect with investors and other business people.
Ensure that even as you bring on board your new business partner, he is a people’s person.
If they have a good rapport with others, whether it is past employers, employees, or business partners, then they know how to manage and work with other people.
Plus, those past connections can turn into new clients for your growing enterprise. You should also look for someone who is well connected and has business links in many places, with a wealth of experience to boot.
To any business this is quite important, first and foremost, you must have the same vision with the person you want to partner with. Even if he/she brings to the table a billion dollars and you don’t share the same vision and goals, you will not go far.
A partner must believe in your idea and be willing to make it even better. He must be someone who believes in your abilities and respects the goals and targets you have set out for the company. What do you see when you look in the future? Do both of you see the same thing or everyone has their own translation and opinion? If you both have different visions and goals you will mostly waste time getting into fights
Make sure you and your partner’s strengths are in different areas. If you have two people who are good at sales and no one who is good at executing on an operational level, it will be more challenging than you think. It is much better to bring someone in who will compliment your strengths. In order to grow profitably, keep some balance.
In every partnership, trust is everything and it is not any different when it comes to Business. Yu do not want to have a partner who comes on board and runs a replica of your company on the side. Or a partner who is stuck with you when the company posts great revenues but chooses to leave wheb the company plunges not losses.
Choose a partner whom you have known for some time to avoid trust and honesty issues later when the business has already been established.
One key thing that most people oftenly forget and is quite important is the flip side of the partnership. What if it doesn’t work? What if the partnership doesn’t turn out to be the way we envisioned it? Ensure that you have in place a formula to determine the value of the company should one partner decide to leave to avoid disagreements.
You can decide on buy/sell agreements. These are incredibly useful for discussing all possibilities and how they will be handled before they become a reality.
Why is all of this so important? Because a great business can be severely damaged by a bad partnership and never reach its full potential, while good partnerships can make your business dreams come to reality. Business partnerships are great but they also require you to have even stronger work ethics and complementary skill sets.
Want to join our growing business network? Book a tour today at any of our branches and check out our amazing packages!