Together with Yvonne Halling who has turned her own B&B in Champagne into a 6 figure business, I’ve been running a webinar series for bed and breakfast owners to double their income this year with a business-driven website. We finished up the programme last night with some sadness that the live calls are over but knowing there are other products in the pipeline we can continue to develop.
It’s not the first time Yvonne and I have collaborated in a business venture, nor is she my only JV partner as Entrepreneur Soul is also of course the result of a partnership with Judith.
The benefits of joining forces with a fellow entrepreneur are obvious. Forget your Wii Brain Games, the right joint venture partner will make you instantly twice as creative and twice as productive. You get more positive reinforcement of your skills and strengths, something we miss when we work alone, and work becomes more focused and fun. What’s not to love about going into partnership with your great friend on your new business idea?
Joint ventures aren’t all plain sailing though, just as marriage isn’t. That happy optimistic start when you dream big together and your beloved can do no wrong can easily turn sour as the venture develops. Perhaps you feel you’re working harder and coming up with all the good ideas. Your partner has lost their commitment, their focus is elsewhere and their output is shoddy. Where you used to be supportive and kind to each other you now bicker and find fault. There are surely as many lost friendships and crushed dreams as there are successes in joint ventures.
How to find the perfect business partner? I have no fail-safe answers but some suggestions.
You need enough shared business values that you will not argue about every small detail. Values such as loyalty, respect, customer service, delivering value, reliability, organisation, punctuality. It doesn’t matter what they are, they just need to be in the same ball park.
And though you have shared values, you need to offer different strengths. No point both of you being technical wizards if neither of you can connect easily with your customers or write a decent sales letter. On your own you are damn good, together you are dynamite.
You need to have – or quickly develop – patience, diplomacy, ability to compromise, abundant thinking. You have to remember to catch your partner doing well and tell them. You have to be able to see them messing up and not be afraid to let them know. You have to be able to take feedback and acknowledge the possibility.
I know I never did a compatibility test with either Yvonne or Judith. We didn’t check our astrological charts before shaking hands on our new agreement. We didn’t tick off our respective skills and achievements and work out they were a perfect balance. But we knew each other sufficiently well, from online forums and business groups, to know we had a similar view of the world, the same desire to serve a market, an equal respect for what the other brought to the table.
Perhaps with Yvonne and Judith I have the best of both worlds. We dip in and out of each other’s business lives as the need and desire take us. Nothing is long-term or permanent. It’s not to say that if I had to create a full-time business with either that it wouldn’t work either – I have nothing but admiration, love and respect for them both. But this way we get the good bits, it stays fun and fresh. Dating as opposed to picking up someone else’s dirty socks.
Have you ever gone into a business venture with someone else? Was it a match made in heaven or was it business hell? What made it work? Or where did it all go wrong? Do share in the comments below.