8 TIPS for a successful small business partnerships

small business Only 18% of small businesses are run as a partnership. Yet businesses with multiple owners are more likely to survive longer than sole proprietorships, says Brian Headd, an economist at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. Average revenues for partnerships increased 157 percent since 1980, while revenues for the average sole proprietor decreased 51 percent during the same period from 1980-2007 (Sitepoint John Tabita, Nov 13, 2011).

The popularity of sole ownership is due to the ease of set up, the ability to make decisions as you see fit and no sharing required…you get to keep all the profits. Perhaps another reason is the difficulty in finding and maintaining a partnership. Partnership is like a marriage and we must choose our partners wisely and find the perfect match especially since you usually end up spending more time with your partner than you do your own spouse. Your business becomes your child and you need to find common ground on how you will take care of it and allow it to grow and prosper.

Partnering up comes naturally for many women. We tend to be more sensitive to building relationships, bonding and collaborating. We are not afraid to ask for help and we rely heavily on our intuition and trust.

Having a partner in business has so many benefits: You share the financial burden and have potentially more capital to invest as you pool your finances together. You share the responsibilities which can lighten your workload. By coming together you have more skills, experience and networks.

It is best to choose a partner not based on who you would like to be friends with (although that is important too). Choose someone with complementary skills and differing points of view. For example, at workhoppers.com, one of us is quick at making decisions while the other takes more time to think things through. Also, one of us is a bit of a perfectionist (a little OCD ;))while the other is calm and offers reasoning. We balance each other out and it works well for us!

So if you decide on having a partner and are lucky enough to find one that you can work well with who has the same passion for fulfilling your dream, here are 8 tips to keeping that relationship a success:

1-Treat your partner the way you would like to be treated. Always show respect.

2-Argue behind closed doors. But, always stand united with clients and colleagues.

3-Make room for the differences of opinion, this is what helps you brainstorm. Listen to each other and don’t be afraid to tell each other how you feel.

4-Work in tandem and avoid power plays.

5-Don’t take things personally-it is business. You need to pull up your big girl panties and take criticism.

6-Assign different tasks to each other based on what you each do best. Coordinate and overly communicate to avoid overlapping.

7-Encourage each other with praise. Everyone needs a pat on the back from time to time.

8-Have fun! Remember to laugh a lot. When you are doing something you enjoy it no longer feels like work.

Unfortunately, like marriage, although every relationship starts off with the best intentions, sometimes things just don’t work out. It is very important to take the time to prepare a contract at the onset with a buy/sell option.

Finding the ideal match as a partner makes the journey so much more exciting. You have someone to share the highs and lows with.

As Louisa May Alcott once said “It takes two flints to make a fire….”

Submitted by Linda Singer, Co-founder at www.workhoppers.com Where talented people find flexible work and savvy companies get local help on-demand.

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