How to Build a Successful Small Business Partnership

by Samuel Tran on November 19, 2012

One huge challenge for small business partnerships is the transition from a proprietorship to a partnership. At Best Small Biz Help, we have already written about how to hire a business partner and key personality traits to look for in a business partner. But once you choose a partner, how do you make the partnership succesfful?

We asked several small business owners about their own transition to a partnership. Here are their three most important suggestions for successful partnerships:

1. Focus on the Business, Not on the Individual. Chris Duke at Anna’s Gourmet Goodies stressed not just careful evaluation of individual character, but also clarity of focus on the business. “Having a business partner focused on himself or herself first will likely lead to a train wreck,” he noted.

2. Set Decision Rights. Christy Strauch at Small Business Warrior warned against “decision gridlock” in the organization. When establishing the partnership, delegating decisions became incredibly important to keep the small business flowing.

3. Build a Contingency Plan. Bibby Gignilliat suggested preparing contingency plans if the partnership did not work. “Everyone told me that my sales would dip [if I dissolved the company],” she said, “and I would lose the branding I had established over the life of my business.

When I finally did dissolve and re-launch with the name Parties That Cook, my business flourished. In the first year in business, we were up 80%.”

The transition from a solopreneurship to a partnership is not easy, but careful planning will help any good small business partnership succeed and flourish!

For more advice on building a successful business partnership, check out this video with Carol Roth, author of The Entrepreneur Equation.

Have a suggestion we didn't mention? Share your small business partnership stories with us below!

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