Business Ownership: A Conversation with Yourself or Your Partners

Business Ownership: A Conversation with Yourself or Your Partners

A critical aspect of business strategy and survival is the matter of ownership.
Many people who go into business do so because they have had enough of not being
in charge and in full control of their fortunes. Hence ownership provides an opportunity
to take full responsibility.

Not surprisingly, some people propose a business idea because they have had some interaction
with others with whom they feel some level of synergy and cooperative spirit. This spirit may be real
real, but it can die very rapidly. Collaboration in business is a vital way to minimize start-up costs because
very often the resources needed to employ specialized skills are not available. This is even more evident when
one considers that the passion, organizational skills and raw capability are not easily encountered
in one person. Many ventures would not have been given a chance without collaboration.
Yet, like most relationships, partnerships in business are challenging and perhaps
because there is a tendency to judge commitment when some level of imbalance
in efforts is detected, things often fall apart.

And at times partnerships fail because of success! When the venture is successful and one party
starts to wonder if he or she would not be better off on a personal basis if he or she were working
only for himself or herself, then that threatens the bond. Collaboration soon brings out suspicion, stress,
insecurity and failure. What is the reason for this paradox? Why is it that the same thing that
created the opportunity for success leads to the venture’s demise? Not to mention the demise in
friendships, relationships and finances that sometimes follow. There are many reasons why people
want to get out of being in business together, too many to mention in a limited space, but
there are many reasons for supporting a partnership too.

This is something to consider carefully as a part of the strategic deliberation before the start
of the venture. Many people recommend things like partnership agreements, complementing
skill-sets and so on. And these are good ideas. Yet, one aspect that is seldom explored is the matter
of the heart and soul of the partners.

Economic doldrums are common nowadays. The way out is to have more entrepreneurship and that
invariably means more partnering. But going blindly into partnership is risky. The answer does not
lie in neatly packaged solutions. A big factor is cultural and the new approach to the overall topic,
especially from a macro-perspective is to be aware of the cultural challenges confronting partnerships.
People will make reference to what the “Chinese” or “Indians” do and why we cannot do this or that.
Cultural factors are latent and few people are aware of them or understand what is happening.

The big question is profound. Why would anyone not want to partner – share ideas and risks – in an
area of life that is almost guaranteed to drain you of your life’s energy and peace of mind if things go wrong?
If the common complaint about “capital”, “skills” and so forth are correct, why do we make such a big
effort to make it harder on ourselves by avoiding collaboration?

A big part of your business’ strategy is to start right. Even if you are a single business person
you have to have a conversation with yourself. What am I getting into? What am I prepared to give up?
How long a time might I give myself to achieve certain goals and how I am likely to respond
to the rigors of the task or the need to divert time to or away from other life issues?

If you are partnering you still have to have the same talk with yourself and your partners-to-be. This is about
the area I refer to as the heart and soul. It is not about your financial contribution. It is not about turning up
for meetings and agreeing to be a Director or a Manager. No, the answer lies, in an undefined way,
in the area of that aspect of your being that I call the heart and soul. If it is not detected, don’t bother
to start the relationship and / or the business, it will almost certainly lead to disaster.

This is why mentoring / coaching is useful and important. It is not so much the technical skills
of the mentor/coach that are important here, it is the ability to understand what is necessary and to
make it clear to the subject, the aspiring entrepreneur, what is important for success. Many
successful athletes do not have coaches that are athletic in appearance or abilities…it is not
about appearances.

So before you do anything, have this talk with yourself or with your partners-to-be. It does not
matter what else you do about business ownership and survival if YOU cannot depend on YOU!

“we understand the small business”


About Alrick Robinson

Alrick Robinson is the Best-Selling Author of The Small Business Survival Guide: Insights into the First Two Years & Business Coach. I invite you to download a FREE Report "7 Signs You Should Explore Running Your Own Business" Plus a Surprise Bonus! at this link - You may also visit my blog at where I share small business resources and survival tips weekly.

We Understand the Small Business

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