When Are Partnerships Bad For Your Startup?

Most of the world’s giant companies have started off from partnerships. As an aspiring startup founder, you might have heard about how Larry Page and Sergey Brin worked together and created Google, or how Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard cooperated and invented (well, as the name suggests) Hewlett-Packard. Maybe it is time for you to go out and look for a partner, too.

But wait! While partnership and teammate is everything for newly-established startup like yours, you should know that there are particular circumstances, when partnerships are bad for your business.

Finding the right co-founder to develop your startup is not an easy feat. If you are lucky enough to find skilled and competent talents, then the partnership could be a blessing to bring your startup step further. On the other hand, if you are not careful, the partnership might end up being a curse that will drag down your business.

So, how do you know if the partnerships are bad for your startup? Here’s how:

  1.    Conflicting values

Sharing the same values and vision should be listed on the criteria of your future co-founders. It doesn’t matter if the person possesses strong skills and rich experiences, if you find that they do not share the same values as yours, you can never work smoothly together.

You and your partner should be able to work towards one business goal, while having mutual agreements on how to achieve them. Therefore, if you cannot find this ideal person you’re gunning for, partnering with any other or compromising for the sake of acceleration could prove bad for your startup.

  1.    Unbalanced responsibilities

When both of you and your partner are unable to set a clear and detailed workshare, unbalanced responsibilities are bound to happen. At one time, it might be that you who has to do all the work. While on the other hand, the other partner does nothing at all.

Such condition is not healthy for smooth functioning of business operation in the long run. Therefore, unless you find the balance between divided share of equal workload with your associates, such unhealthy partnerships could only bring your business to doom.

  1.    Waning trust

How much do you trust your partner? Are you sure that they are reliable enough to manage your business? Are they trustworthy enough to manage all the invested money? If the answer for one or more of the questions is a ‘No’, then the partnership will not prove to be a good deal for your startup.

Both in small and large-scale businesses, trust between founders is the motor engine for upcoming and growing companies.

  1.    Futile communication

The ability to effectively communicate your ideas and share your opinions on subject matters is one of the most crucial signs of a healthy partnership. If you and your partner’s communication styles do not support conflict resolution, then such unhealthy communication will only erode relationships over time and affect team workings.

While nobody fancies the idea of involving in a debate or disagreement with partners, but the inevitable fact is, it is healthy for growing business. Brainstorming, deliberating and discussing on ideas with points of disagreements put across by partners helps to understand the loopholes in the system and fix them at the right time. Instead, if such arguments or disagreements are absent in a partnership, then you should be worried if your co-founders are really enthusiastic and participative in business progression.

  1.    Disagreement in basic operations

At the very beginning of your partnership, it is imperative to ensure that both parties are on the same page. This further means, that you and your potential partner should convene equivalent values, dreams, visions, and plans for the future.

Only when these basic foundation blocks are well laid, then can you proceed seeking consensus regards stability of company’s business operations. For instance, both companies into a partnership should be able to discuss the startup’s type of work, financial expenses, and recruitment plan. Do not start a partnership unless you meet the terms of the agreement, have a well-defined plan and are on the common ground for launch.

While partnership is always a great alternative to upscale your startup to a whole new level, it is equally important to bear in mind that only good partnerships work, based on solid grounding of trust, reliability, understanding and mutual respect.

If you find any one or all of these qualities missing in your prospective partner, and think to collaborate and give this partnership a try then perhaps you are in for a huge business failure, and loss making in the longer run.

It is worth reconsidering the prospects of partnering, the gains, the values, vision and growth plans before you sign into a deal and embark on a whole new outlay for the future.

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