Partnerships Are Like a Marriage Without Sex
Partnerships are like a marriage without sex, according to Wendy Marks and Carol Westheimer. Small Business start-ups need to think carefully before becoming partners. Partnerships are as delicate as a marriage, Marks points out in her 1996 article about partnerships in the GCM Journal. People should first assess whether they are suited to be in a partnership. Some individuals, according to Marks, have problems sharing tasks with other people, whether they are equals, subordinates, or superiors. People with this domineering personality type are probably not suited for partnerships.
The Bad and the Ugly of Partnerships
The Bad and Ugly of Partnerships are rained down on GCM partners and the entire US small business. community. Wendy Marks and Carol Westheimer gave a classic workshop at the 1995 GCM conference entitled “Partnerships: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Why Do They Succeed or Fail? Or Everything You Wanted to Know About Marriage Without Sex But Were Afraid to Ask.”
Like a Marriage, Partners Can Have Problems With Mine and Yours
Partners are meant to bear a mutual burden and make mutual decisions. Some people have a hard time sharing leadership duties and partners can think of everything as mine and yours, which can cause the same types of problems in a business partnership as in a marriage.
Marks also suggests understanding the relevant skills of both people considering a partnership. This list may include bookkeeping, care management, geriatric assessment, marketing, payroll, hardware and software support, administration, and human resources management. A skill map can identify which partner has which skills. Areas that are not covered by either partner and areas that are covered by both partners are of concern in establishing a partnership.
What is Your Partner’s Commitment?
Another step is to assess how long of a commitment each partner can make to the fledgling enterprise. If one partner plans to retire in 5 years and wants to stay in the partnership only for that long, and the other wants to make a 20-year commitment, the mutual venture may need to be reassessed. Does one partner want to have another child in a few years? Does one partner expect to relocate anytime soon? People should assess the present commitment to the partnership, and then anticipate what the partnership will look like 2, 5, and 10 years down the line. There may be a period in which one partner would be running the business alone, and this may not seem agreeable to the other partner.
In My Book Handbook of Geriatric Care Management 4th edition in Chapter, How to Start or Add a GCM Business, partners should also discuss their commitments to their families, because geriatric care management is such a time-intensive business. Are the family members on both sides willing to accept the partners’ absences? This needs to be assessed before the partnership begins. Can each partner devote the same amount of time to the business? If not, should one partner get more money? If the imbalance cannot be resolved, the partnership should be reconsidered.
The Chapter contains a quiz that sums up many of the points discussed here. Potential partners should take the quiz before formalizing the partnership.
TAKE THIS PARTNERSHIP QUIZ
- Do you both have the entrepreneurial qualities to survive the first 5 years of business?
- Is either one of you unable to share tasks with anyone else?
- Can you both commit to this company for the next 7 years?
- Do you both have all of the following traits?
- Risk-taking ability
- Ability to withstand failure
- Ability to withstand rejection
- Capacity to share
- Ability to argue strongly and lose courteously
- Ability to forgive
- Ability to survive a crisis
- Do you both look to each other as someone with whom you could spend long periods of time?
- Can you both say “no” to a plan but “yes” to a person?
- Do you both have a similar vision of the future?
- Do you both have the finances to cover expenses until you turn a profit?
- Can you both survive failure?