Mentor, Tom O'Toole

A nearby business wants to strike up a partnership arrangement. Should I do this?

StartupSmart /

I run a floristry and a nearby bridal business wants to strike up a partnership arrangement. Should I do this? If so, how should I structure it so that I get good benefit from it?

 

I think you should seize the opportunity. Years ago in a bakery I had in WA, we were delivering bread to all the farms in the district.

 

We were not making any money on the venture. Well, our local mailwoman Queenie asked if we could work out an agreement where she would deliver the bread with the mail and receive a percentage of each product sold.

 

It worked out so well that in no time she was selling way more bread plus heaps of apple pies and Boston buns.

 

Queenie built it into a terrific business. It was win/win: we were happy, Queenie was happy and the farmers were happy.

 

With any partnership, it has to be win/win for everyone involved. And these days I will only go into partnerships with people I like.

 

They also need to be honest and ethical. They have to be able to communicate. Any trouble I’ve had with partnerships over the years has always been from lack of communication.

 

I’ve been in a partnership with a business in WA for around 30 years now.

 

That partnership is based on a handshake and trust, but I would not recommend that approach to everyone.

 

For my partnership with Marty at the bakery today, we have legal documentation and everything.

 

I would suggest planning your exit strategy right at the start. Before you get too involved, make sure it’s all in writing so you’re all clear what you want out of it.

 

You need to ask yourself: do they run a successful business financially? And you need total commitment from both sides.

 

Don’t over-plan it: just give it a go for 12 months and see where it takes you. Then, maybe, put more planning into place.

 

“Action” is the magic word: play with the partnership, and explore and develop ideas. Who knows where it will take your business?

 

Concentrate on the critically important issues and undertake enough research to justify the venture. Then give it your best shot.

 

But be willing to change and amend your agreement as the project develops.

 

As soon as you see any problems or unacceptable risks, get onto a solution straightaway. Just make sure it’s win/win.

Advertisement

We Recommend

FROM AROUND THE WEB