I received a call last week from a client wanting to expand their business. My first question was "does this fit into your dream for your life?" And their response was, "I think I can manage it if I had a partner." At which point I asked again "does that fit into the dream for your life?"
It may seem silly to ask, but I am hearing more and more about therapists partnering up in their practices in the hopes that it will garner them more income, more viability and more support. They are looking at this option without even considering what it means for their lives.
Have you ever thought, "this would be a lot easier if I had a partner to work with"? Maybe you wanted to do a group and you asked a close friend and colleague to do the group with you. And then you thought, we will make money working together because 2 is always better than 1.
Typically, my first gut reaction to this thinking is that person is not believing in themselves. The decision to partner with another business owner can be disastrous if it is made out of fear. Ideas sound so great and it feels safe to have someone by your side, but you have to look at WHY you are really doing it. So I want to cover some points for you to think about before you say "I do."
- Partnerships are like a marriage. Miranda and I always joke that because we own ZynnyMe, Inc. together, it would be harder for us to divorce than it would be for us to divorce our own husbands. Just from a legal stand point, dividing up assets and all that fun stuff takes time, money and help from an attorney. That is why you need a pre-nup before you really solidify your commitment together. It's a serious commitment!
- You don't just get married, you gotta date first. Think about it. Do a project and see how it goes. Really evaluate if the person is a good fit. Evaluate if your concept is the right one at the right time and if it is profitable.
- Both partners need to be attractive. A good partner has something you need and you have something they need. Partnerships in any endeavor take balance. If you decide to partner with someone because they are great at marketing then what are you bringing to the table? If both of you don't need each other, it won't work. Also, they have to be attractive to your long term goals. When we date, we are looking for someone that shares common interests. You want a partner that challenges you but also supports you.
- No sugar daddies. (trying to arbitrarily stick with the dating theme, ha!) This isn't about making money off of the other person. In fact, let's say you do a group together, you split the fees, which means, you have to do two groups together instead of one by yourself. Look at the financial sense of things before you get committed.
I will just be really honest - partnerships are work. They take more communication and more effort because you are also working with someone else's dreams and business goals. However, if it is the right idea, the right time and the right person, the work is worth it. So before you pick up the phone to get someone else's help, take a quick look at what your goals are for your own business and consider the options before you get hitched.