The first fundamental rule when finding a business partner is “don’t rush into it”, however profitable it may be! It is not surprising that most people get into business partnership with very little knowledge about their partner’s background, work history or their approach to business.
To make your agency business partnership successful, you must plan how to acquire a partner as well as how to grow the relationship positively. Jumping into a partnership first and then planning to improve it, is not going to work! It is an uphill task to change the relationship once you have already said “yes”.
Whether your partner is a college, university or migration office, the rules of the partnership will safeguard your agency’s interests, so try to do as much as possible. We have put together eight ways to grow a successful business partnership:
Before Acquiring Business Partners
Conduct background checks
It is important to go into business with someone you can trust. Especially, its implications in business are clearly noteworthy. Mistrust in each other’s intentions can ruin the best partnerships.
- Conduct background checks and get personal references, so you can easily find your best-fit business partners.
- Find out about their business history, reputation in the market, and plans for the future.
- Hire a lawyer or due-diligence professional to do these checks and write a report.
Talk about worst-case scenarios
Once you have some potential business partners to choose from, meet them in person. Attend these meetings only with a plan or strategy in mind. As an agency, you would want to test some possible scenarios that normally occur in your line of business.
- Talk about the worst-case scenarios in your business and ask potential partners how they will handle it.
- Depending on their answers, you can get a fair idea about whether they will make good partners or not.
- Ask them how they think a partnership with your agency is beneficial for both businesses.
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Understand partnership laws in detail
Laws will differ based on your agency and partner’s location of business. Apart from understanding the law, it is important to figure how it will affect your agency. Before you get hold of a lawyer, it is advisable to do your own research.
- Go online and search for partnership laws by specifying the location. Government websites will be more reliable, as they are responsible for framing the policies in business transactions.
- Assess whether there is anything in legal terms that will not suit your agency.
- Eventually, take help from a practicing lawyer to evaluate the pros and cons or find solutions.
Set up the business partnership
Now is the time to designate roles and set up partnership agreements. To avoid any future pitfalls, there must be total clarity about the roles and responsibilities of each person involved in signing the deal.
- Make a list of people in your agency who need to sign the partnership and witness it.
- There should be a description of each partner’s responsibilities and duties, so every partner knows what to expect from the other.
- In the agreement, you should include predetermined consequences for partners, who do not fulfill their duties.
- The agreement should include the time, money, and assets each partner contributes to the partnership.
- Rights to distributions, profits, compensation, and losses must be specific and clear.
- Every partnership agreement must include an exit strategy for partners, who may want to leave the partnership at some point in the future.
After Acquiring Business Partner
Once your business partner is onboard, communication should be frequent and relevant. Your agency partners should be able to contact you anytime they need your help. The same applies for them too. Introduce each other to communication best practices like:
- Emails: If you have any kind of formal request or professional business proposal to share, send an email to your agency partner following a proper business email etiquette.
- Phone Calls: Sometimes written communication can be unclear, so make it a habit of clarifying it over the phone.
- Management Software: Having a common platform to share ideas or start projects is a great way to communicate. It is also good for keeping records and tracking the progress of each other’s work.
- Regular Meetings: Good business communication requires a mix of the virtual and real, so schedule regular meetings with your partners, especially if they are in the same country.
Take responsibility for your actions and stay positive
All relationships thrive on responsible actions and business partnerships are no different! A partnership for your agency is a long-term commitment or at least you should see it that way. Taking responsibility for your action helps build trust.
- If you wish to make your agency partnership successful, learn the best practices for partner relationship management.
- Everyone makes mistakes occasionally and sometimes unintentionally. If you ever make one, let your partner know that you are responsible for it.
- Maintain a positive demeanor in all your interactions with agency partners.
- In an agency business partnership, you will go through good and bad times together. Be open to this possibility and instead of making excuses, plan the days ahead.
Avoid making assumptions
We often make assumptions that our partners know what we think, and there is no need to tell them what we want. Most often, these assumptions arise due to familiarity, as we feel our partners know us so well. Here is how you can avoid these misunderstandings and improve your business relationship:
- Put down every conversation or interaction in writing or keep a record of it.
- Make it a habit to say “yes” or “no” as clearly as possible.
- Don’t make decisions on behalf of your partners, without consulting them first.
- Be aware of your responsibilities as a business partner and stick to it.
Prepare for problems in advance
It is true that problems and conflicts in business partnership are inevitable, especially in the long-term. It could be due to a number of reasons. However, there is a solution to every problem, if the intention is right. Here is what you should do:
- Analyze worst-case scenarios in your business and create a plan of action along with your agency partner.
- Do a role-play of each situation and prepare the best solutions.
- Think about how you will implement these plans, if the problems do arise.
A successful partnership is one that is progressive, profitable, and positive for both parties. Take your time to make decisions about collaborating with other individuals or businesses. Think it through, plan it out, and the rest will fall in place!