So you are planning to work with others for a joint venture. Or you maybe considering working more closely to share resources and services. Everything seems fine at the start, but things can get complicated very quickly and you may end up disappointed or worse still, be left tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket and a damaged reputation.
Here are nine steps that you should follow improve the chances of a successful partnership venture:
- Never enter a partnership arrangement without being clear as to the need:
a. For the venture or project
b. For a partnership
If there is not a strong need, it could be difficult to get buy-in from partners.
Each partner must be able to see the benefit for their own business and must be clear on their roles and responsibilities as well as investment in time, finances and resources. Overall, the project must be of mutual benefit to all partners.
2) Engage with partners who are committed to the partnership, that you can trust (there are different levels of trust required for different levels of partnerships), that relate to your values and philosophy, and understand your culture.
An absence of any one of these could adversely impact on the foundations of your partnership.
3) Be mindful of agendas and ensure that the partnership venture has a common vision, clear objectives and expected outcomes which reduce the risk of the activity being deviated to meet the needs of one partner. The vision and objectives should be supported by strategic directions and priorities, and should be visited on a regular basis to ensure that the venture stays on track.
4) Ensure that the owners or boards of the partners are fully supportive of the partnership venture. This will involve submitting a business case and business plan to be monitored at the top level. In some ventures, there may be a governance group with oversight of the partnership. This will ensure that the partnership venture remains supported, especially when it is endorsed by an Agreement/Memorandum of Understanding signed by all partners at the start of the project or collaboration.
5) Be clear as to the level of partnership you are engaged in -networking, cooperating, coordinating, collaboration or integration. Each level requires different levels of engagement and trust as well as impacts on the operations and governance of each organisation.