This is the final week in our series about Love & Entrepreneurship. Today’s we’re discussing partnership.
One of my favorite podcasters, John Lee Dumas, likes to say he likes all kinds of ships – big ships, small ships, grey ships, wooden ships – but not partnerships.
Partnerships in business are precarious creatures. They can seem to be one thing and then turn out to be another. There are stories of great business partnerships but there are also plenty of stories of partnerships gone wrong.
A friend of mine is currently looking for an additional investor/partner to bring into her business. I’ve been thinking a lot about the decisions she’s facing and how I might go about doing something similar when/if I’m ready to do the same.
Where I’ve landed is that creating a good partnerships requires both the head and the heart. There needs to be alignment of both logic and emotion. Here’s what I mean…
Use your head. Run the numbers. Negotiate. Have a good attorney create the partnership agreement. Set clearly defined roles and responsibilities. All of these sorts of things that are part of due diligence.
Use your heart. Make sure you feel good about the relationship. You might not always get along but you know how you will handle disagreements. There is a basis of trust.
Achieve alignment. If you’ve figured out all the head stuff but your gut is saying no, don’t do it yet. If you’re gut is all in but you haven’t taken the time to do all the head stuff, don’t do it yet. Take your time and get alignment.
If you’re close to alignment but not fully there remember this idea: “If it’s right today, it’ll be right tomorrow.” If a partnership is right today, it’ll be right in the future when you’ve done your due diligence. There’s really no reason to rush. In fact, feeling rushed might be a red flag that the partnership is not right for you or for your business.
If alignment seems impossible, back away. It won’t be the end of the world. Someone new will come along and you’ll get another shot.
Another friend is looking for a team to build her business idea together. Another friend is looking for a business to buy. I think all of these scenarios and probably every single decision in life and business requires an alignment of both head and heart.
So, how do you learn to align your head and your heart?
Before I answer that question, here’s some background.
I struggled with this for a long time and had to “learn the hard way” so to speak. I’ve always been analytical. My friends in high school called me anal-lytical. The fictional character I relate most to is Spock. Empathy and compassion were not my strengths. Logic and critical thinking were where I felt most comfortable.
Thankfully, I had a great mentor my last year of college and we spent most of our time talking about aligning head and heart. My journal was filled with drawings of a brain and a heart. Here’s how I drew them…
Now I can answer this question, “How do you learn to align your head and your heart?”
Persistence and practice. When faced with a lack of alignment, stick with it until alignment is achieved. Then, the next time it’ll be easier. Practice doesn’t make perfect but it does make it easier. Journal. Talk out loud to a friend or to yourself. Process. Analyze your thoughts and your feelings. Draw pictures of both. Look for similarities. Be creative. Just do whatever it takes until you feel like there is alignment and don’t move forward until alignment is full and complete.
While you’re waiting for alignment, either delay a decision if possible and take some baby steps with whichever way you’re leaning. Taking baby steps might even be the only way to achieve alignment.
When you’ve reached a decision go ahead full steam. Don’t delay. Turn your alignment into action as soon as possible.