As with all major business decisions, entering into a general partnership has its pros and cons. A business partnership is often – and for good reason – compared with a marriage. When you sign a contract and agree to share profits and problems with another person, it is imperative that you know as much about each other as possible, and that you know you will be compatible.
Rather than risking a potentially hazardous business partnership, professionals often hire a business partnership consultant – also called a business counselor – to aide in the process. The consultant will help weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each individual, and give his or her opinion about the potential for disaster. A whopping 70% of all business partnerships do not last, which is something that should be taken into consideration.
When my partner and I began our business several years ago, we hired a business partnership consultant before we entered into an agreement. It was an invaluable step that made my partner and I stronger as a team, and I am infinitely glad that I took the time to use her services.
Why haven’t I heard of a business partnership consultant?
I hear this all the time when I mention my positive experience with one, and to be honest, the profession has not seen a growth spurt yet. Business partnership consultants are often financial, marketing or startup consultants that also freelance for business partnerships. Such a profession can rarely make a substantial income on its own, so it is paired for other services.
If you are interested in hiring a business partnership consultant, contact a local consulting firm and ask for a reference. Chances are, they will have someone in their firm who can help, or will know a contractor outside of their company. This is much easier than searching through the yellow pages, and will guarantee a good referral.
How can I benefit from a business partnership consultant?
It is impossible to throw two strangers together in a business and expect that they work well together and nurture a prosperous venture. Even friends who have known each other for a decade might not be able to establish a healthy business relationship. It is important that two people are compatible on many levels before entering into a business agreement because decisions should not be fought over everytime something comes up.
A business partnership consultant will use personality tests, interviews, business plans and statistics to guide you through the partnership process. He or she will help gauge whether or not you and your partner can work together, and will help you through the startup process. You will also find that the consultant provides excellent tips on dispute resolution, finding common ground and staying focused on your goals. It is always advisable to seek a third party when making important decisions.
How much do partnership consultants charge?
This varies by region and specialty, but most consultants in this line of work charge between $50.00 and $75.00 per hour. Some charge on a per-project basis, giving you a lump total for their services, but this is rare.
You must remember that consultants are contractors, and are not members of your payroll. A partnership consultant shouldn’t be needed for more than a few days, which means that the investment will be small regardless. With a financial or marketing consultant, you may require their services for weeks, months or even years, so this is certainly small, comparitively.
What qualities should I seek in a business partnership consultant?
Since a large part of the consultant’s job will be counseling you and your partner about business strategy and resolution, he or she should be friendly and outgoing. You will want to work with a professional who has a proven track record with companies like the one you plan to start, and who supplies references to their character and ability.
Regardless of how small the job might be, protect your investment by choosing carefully. Ask for referrals of satisfied clients and request a price up front. A professional consultant will be willing to assist you in your decision, and should not balk at the prospect of providing references.
What should I expect from a partnership consultant?
The most important thing that a partnership consultant should provide is honesty. If he or she has reservations about your partnership, it will be evident in his or her final report. The consultant should be consistently professional and provide tips, strategies and advice for working together in a partnership, and should have software programs that assist in working with you and your partner.
Why do business partnerships fail?
No matter how well you plan for your business, things go wrong, and important decisions must be made. If you choose the wrong partner, you will end up butting heads over not just the larger problems, but the small ones as well. Incompatible partners will end up dissolving the business based on irresolvable issues, which should be avoided. Wonderful business ideas go down the drain because general partnerships simply don’t work out.