Cover-Weintraub-Judy-Building-Successful-Partnerships-8-24-12
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    Introduction

    Everybody has a story about a partnership that has fallen apart. Unfortunately, it is a somewhat common occurrence, as about 2 out of every 3 partnerships fail. Yet entering into partnerships can greatly expand a company’s opportunities and markets. This SkillBite discusses how to build durable partner relationships. In particular, it covers: How to investigate a prospective partner prior to entering into a business alliance; Key business issues to address up front or as early as possible; and Critical legal issues to include in a partnership agreement to protect yourself in the event that the partnership doesn’t succeed.

    While it is most beneficial to conduct an investigation and address the business and legal issues prior to entering into a partnership, it is still worthwhile to go through these steps even after the partnership has been formed. The exercise of discussing the issues will not only help reduce the risk that the partnership will fail, but also enhance the collaboration, communication and alignment of the parties and their interests, thereby strengthening their relationship and the business.

    Let me illustrate the value of engaging in this type of exercise with a scenario: Bob and Jack decided to open an online training business together. They had both been in the training business for many years, and between them they knew every aspect of the business. Bob had worked on the marketing and sales side of the business for a large training company, while Jack managed operations in a computer training boutique. They had been good friends for many years and their kids were on the same soccer team.

    A year later, they were barely speaking to each other. Jack felt that Bob had not met his commitments to bring in new clients. Bob felt that Jack had spent way too much money developing the product.

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    They both had a lot of money tied up in the business, which was not as successful as they had envisioned.

    In the rush to start their business, Bob and Jack never addressed the details of their business relationship; they knew t

    hat together they possessed the relevant skills, and figured they could get along with each other well enough to operate the business. Besides, working out the details of the business relationship would have been time consuming, and didn’t seem to be important, so they skipped this (critical) step.

    As a result of their problems with each other, they stopped communicating, which exacerbated their problems. Decisions that ought to have been made together were being made unilaterally or not at all. They had no agreement that spelled out what would happen if the partnership were to fall apart, or how a partner could exit the partnership. And because they were angry at each other, the negotiations on these issues were bitter.

    Unfortunately, Bob and Jack’s situation is not that unusual; and yet, it could have been prevented. Partners of failed businesses often admit that had they taken the time to explore the relationship and each other’s expectations before jumping into the business, they could have discovered up front the issues that caused the friction leading to their break-up. By working through the types of issues that often cause problems among business principals, prospective partners are better able to prevent the issues from causing them problems. They also are able to develop strategies for overcoming obstacles that are revealed during the discussions, as well as develop systems and procedures in key areas and learn an approach for tackling other tough issues that will inevitably arise.

    So congratulations for buying this book! Hopefully, you’ll take the time to engage in the discussions recommended in the book with your partner, which will enable you to minimize the risk of partnership breakdown and build a strong foundation for your partnership.

  • About the Author

    Judy Weintraub is an attorney with over 25 years legal experience. She runs Weintraub Legal Services, a law firm providing corporate legal services to businesses in the mid-Atlantic region, including partnership workshops and the development of operating agreements, buy-sell agreements and partnership agreements. Ms. Weintraub is also a mediator and arbitrator, serving on the rosters of the American Arbitration Association and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR).

    Connect with Judy online:
    judy@weintraublegal.com
    www.weintraublegal.com
    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/judy-weintraub/7/2a9/bb1

    Discover other titles by Judy Weintraub at www.SkillBites.net:
    The Essentials of Negotiating Effectively

$4.95  buy now

How to Build Successful Business Partnerships

Everybody has a story about a partnership or business alliance that has fallen apart. Unfortunately, it is a somewhat common occurrence. Yet entering into alliances with other businesses or individuals can greatly expand a company’s opportunities and markets. This SkillBite discusses how to build durable partner relationships through addressing critical issues, such as responsibilities, compensation structures and exit strategies. Discussion of these issues builds a common understanding, enhances alignment and teaches the parties how to deal with other issues that may come up, thus building durable partner relationships. The book covers the following topics:

  • How to investigate a prospective partner prior to entering into a business alliance;
  • What are the key business issues to address up front or as early as possible in the life of the partnership; and
  • What are the critical legal issues to include in a partnership agreement to protect yourself in the event that the partnership doesn’t succeed.

If you are considering entering into a business partnership, start smart by reading How to Build Successful Business Partnerships. Too many business partners don’t take the time to address the important issues that Judy covers in this book. Believing, “oh, that won’t happen to us,” or “we don’t have time for all that talking; we’re too busy expanding the business,” they set themselves up to fail because they haven’t invested in building a foundation for the relationship.
With lists of key questions to ask and issues to discuss with your potential partner (for example, expectations about the relationship as well as the business), this content-rich book concisely conveys the information you need to confidently and wisely lay the groundwork for building a successful business partnership.

– Amy Tuttle
Co-Founder, Feast Upon Life

I retained Judy Weintraub to work with my partner and me when we were setting up our partnership. It really helped us develop a good foundation for our partnership as we went through the questions and exercises that she gave us, most of which are included in her book, How to Build Successful Business Partnerships. This invaluable SkillBite covers how to address the most problematic areas in partnering with another individual, and I am sure it can help you forge a lasting and successful partnership.
– Mitch Weisburgh
Managing Partner, Academic Business Advisors

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