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Episode 016 - How to choose the right business partner?
Time, money and reputation are just some of the ways you will be connected to your business partner(s). With this level of commitment Dr Ro & Harms, with some painful stories along the way, talk you through choosing the right business partner.
Now choosing the right business partner can also apply to being part of the right team, working for the right boss, co-manager, right organisation to consult or contract for and even selecting which clients you end up working with.
Whenever there is a relationship commitment of time, money, reputation and energy, it is wise to look past the excitement of starting something new and picture yourself in the future.
What kind of industries should really pay attention to this episode:
- Property investors doing JV’s or starting spin off companies eg. Letting Agents
- Network marketers who are recruiting strong people to their team
- High level performers who contract themselves to companies for longer periods
- Startups who commit 5-10 years living in a flat together to build their dream product
- Conventional businesses that look for strategic alliances
- Someone changing careers and making the decision based on the boss and the team
Now with this in mind, what are the common mistakes these people can make when selecting a business partner?
- Chasing the money as the primary objective, if its top of mind constantly, your chasing the money
- Teaming up with friends assuming everyone has the right skills
- Getting family involved without proper conversations
- Skipping the exploration of vision
- Their values are simply not aligned
- Greed can often kick in
- Not logically looking past the excitement of the situation
- Both (all) have not had the same level of personal development
- Not having the candid conversations in advance, what happens if?
- Not having a mentor or coach or advisor in place to be objective, think of this as your early board of advisors
Now if you have listened to the podcast you would have heard Dr Ro share some painful personal business partner stories in order to bring awareness to your current situation. The other side of the coin however are the benefits of choosing the right business partner?
- You can grow the business faster
- Create more opportunities
- Share the workload
- Share skills
- Have someone to bounce off
- Leverage time and skills
- Leverage location and time zones
- Bring different perspective and life experience to the table including cultural
- Someone to be real with you, your employees may not, friends and family may not, clients may not, but your business partner will
Finally, the actionable part, what to consider when choosing the right business partner? Here is an 8 step process to go through with your potential business partner(s):
- Have an open discussion and confirm you all know what you want from this
- What are YOUR values personally and professionally
- Establish their values… ask them about scenarios eg. What if your wife gets pregnant?
- How do you want the business to conduct itself, it is also useful to paint some scenarios here and discuss how you would deal with it eg. What if the angel investor wants their money back sooner than expected?
- How do you want the COMMUNICATION to be between you
- How will issues get resolved, again paint some dark pictures and some simple scenarios which should be an easy fix
- Create an environment to allow the pressure to NOT build up, which means talk talk talk as often as possible
- Be clear on the company / business vision and ethics, state and write them
If you work through this process in advance you all will have greater clarity and confidence in the partnership beyond the excitement stages.
Wow, what an insightful episode, remember this episode is not to put you off partnering up with someone, it is here to inspire you to put in the hard work first in choosing the right partner so your business goes on to flourish.
Enjoy listening to this week’s episode.
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Hi it’s Harms here and welcome to another episode of the Seekardo podcast and today we are going to be answering the question how to choose the right business partner.
Back to the question, how to choose the right business partner and I want to put this into context for your listening at home now, this also applies to finding a team, being a part of a team, choosing the right boss to work for, choosing the right employees to a certain extent.
You may be a co-manager on a project how do you choose the right co-manager? You might be working with a larger organisation and consulting your services for them for a long-contracted period how do you find the right organisation?
Even clients from my personal business we take on clients and how do we choose the right client, as well as the client choosing the right provider and the right service provider.
I want you to think of these items as well when thinking about the broad topic on how to choose the right business partner. A lot of things we may talk about today will certainly apply to that particular question.
The reason I feel this question is important is before I bring Ro onto the mic, is I’ve heard you Ro speak to your live audiences about how important this is when finding the right business partner, choosing the right business partner. The process to go through in order to choose the right business partner it’s more than just getting really excited about something and then just hooking up as business partners.
Is it fair to say you’re going to spend a lot of time with this person or people, your reputation is now tied and ultimately you need to stack the odds in your favour of getting it right. Because it’s going to massively impact whatever it is you are coming together to do, whether it’s a property business, network marketing business, whatever that is we want the outcome to be good.
So hi Ro, that’s the question.That’s the introduction.
Thank you Harms, hi everybody, thanks for listening again to the Seekardo podcast today and what a great subject. Yes, this is one that we needed to bring into the mix, and I think you’re spot on it isn’t just about though although we’ve titled it choosing the right business partner, you might be listening to this and you are going to a job interview in the next couple of weeks, or in the next few days.
It could be that you’re going to meet with a potential joint venture partner, it’s really anybody that you are going to professionally engage with and be involved with, and the question is, are we going to spend a lot of time together? 100%, if it’s a job a lot of time with your boss, your peers, if it’s a business partner, without a doubt there’s going to be a lot of time spent there.
Joint venture partners yes, maybe not as much time as you might do for example in a job but it could be working with people who are going to be angel investors with your business.
There are so many different ways you can work with people and my experience over the years has been if you get that wrong, oh my gosh, it can lead to a catastrophe. It can really mess you up on an emotional level, a financial level, business level and it can leave long-term scars. I know that from own experience because you then live in regret you wish you’d done something differently, “why didn’t I know this stuff before?”
I kind of want to bring to the table today with my own personal experiences of being in business now in terms of I first became officially self-employed as a consultant in 1998. So that’s over 20 something years ago from when we are recording this, but my very first business I actually embarked on I was in my early 20s, which is some 30 years ago. I even took lessons from that, because some of the mistakes I made over the years, I still hadn’t learned from in the early days, so we will see if we can tackle that today in our podcast Harms.
Fantastic and one of the things you said there is it can be catastrophic. The experience can be catastrophic when it does go wrong, and you know this could be immediately, this could be five years down the line, 10 years down the line I imagine. But why is it that people continuously fall into the trap of choosing I guess the wrong business partner and then it ends up leading to a catastrophe?
What’s something we can pinpoint and say that’s one of the things causing this right at the start? Any ideas on that?
At the start I think the key thing here is that we get very, very excited about this new opportunity or this new job that I’m going into classic example.
I’ve seen this with people who have pursued a career and they’ve gone into that job and then within six to 12 months they’re really unhappy. They go off and they find another job in the same field and they repeat the pattern again and I’ve ended up having to coach them and when we drill down into it, there’s a common pattern and that is that they have pursued two things.
Primarily money so better job in the sense that it had more financial rewards, but also their egos were being stroked. It was a new title, “oh I’m getting a new title in the new job and I’m going to be more senior.”
It is a blinkered approach and what I want to hopefully get across from my own personal message but I want to reflect it back on you because I know there is a 20 year gap between the two of us and people listening to this who might be millennial’s, but there may be other people listening to this 10 years older than me. Some people listening to this might be in their 20s and early 20s, reality is that this applies at any age and the mistakes can be made fundamentally because of the same thing.
We go for the shiny coin, we go for the shiny thing that’s in front of us and often that thing is normally linked with something that is beneficial to us on a financial level and the other thing is, it is beneficial to us on an ego level.
I guess the third thing is we get very excited about the very fact that as human beings we like to do new things and that’s Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is basically we all want security but we also want to have the opportunity to grow and to experience new things.
Tony Robbins has for many years talked about variety versus certainty it’s the same thing as the Maslow model people like something new, so being offered a new job with a better salary, new opportunities and by the way you’re going to get a different title great and we go straight for that. It’s only after we are in the job we realise it doesn’t quite fit, me this jigsaw piece doesn’t fit into this jigsaw it looks nice on the outside but I don’t fit in here. Why don’t I fit in here?
That’s what we are going to address today.
I get that and I think you mentioned my generation, I think we would feel that more possibly versus your generation because naturally if I was teaming up with somebody, I’d say we’ve got more time, and this is probably an unconscious thing that we’ve got more time to experiment with this. Maybe get it wrong or the flip side, which is we are quite naïve to the business world in its entirety. The legalities behind things. The idea that actually once you start a business and I learnt this the hard way it’s freaking hard. It is tough.
There are start-up entrepreneurs who give up everything and they will all just live in a flat together to build something. If you’re teaming up with somebody with a business idea that’s who you’re competing with, you’re competing with people who are potentially perfectly in sync. They’ve given up everything for the next 10 years, they’re living in a flat. They’re eating Ramen noodles on a daily basis just to get this business started and being from the world I am Ro I do often get to see these and interact with these people.
I think they’re amazing people they’ve got a passion, a dream, but they’ve got their business network right whereas I see somebody else and they’re very excited let’s take property for example, we come across many property investors.
Let’s say somebody has a deal and they are just so excited about getting this deal over the line that they will do a joint venture with anybody who’s got money and that’s almost like alarm bells.
Because behind the money it’s also a person. So yes, you take the money box by funding your deal, but ultimately the business partnership is between two people. The money is just one of the factors involved there.
I think when the pressure comes on and it’s money involved that persons lending you the money if you don’t know enough about them, how they react to that pressure will be magnified by the very fact that they’ve lent you money.
That becomes a whole different experience altogether, it was nice at the beginning but now things have got rocky, how are they going to react?
For example the refurb cost has gone up by 10%. The builders have overstretched themselves and now we’ve got massive delays on the project. Those kind of things we will talk about ways we can alleviate that and try to understand the other person in advance. Those things exactly Ro a high-pressure situation throws it off and you’re probably thinking, I wish I never had partnered with this person.
Yes and sometime the pressure is not on your side. What if somethings happened to them? They’re subjected to financial challenges or there has been a death in the family or relationship is breaking up, or their business is suddenly starting to struggle and where they lent it to you in a good place at the time, we haven’t established enough about who they are as a person and how they handle pressure and what their values are around that if something changes and goes in the opposite direction.
There are two sides to an equation and in perfect harmony, great but what if one side goes out of sync and what if both sides go out of sync? That’s even worse.
That is a good point actually Ro, would you say that most business partnerships are developed and you choose business partners when everything seems rosy?
Everything is going well, you’ve got an idealistic picture, optimistic picture of everything around you. That’s typically when partners form, would you say that is fair?
That’s a good question actually, I think there’s some truth to that, but I have personally started businesses out of a place of pain, i.e. things weren’t going well, backs against the wall, I’ve been screwed over by somebody, had a bad experience like screw them I’m going to do it myself and those experiences can lead to a really successful business.
However, I think majority of the time they don’t because they’re born from a place of pain and they’re more driven out of a sense of lack or a sense of urgency. There’s nothing wrong with urgency, but it’s painful urgency as opposed to an urgency towards something you want to achieve and be inspired towards.
That’s not to say the business didn’t start from a place of inspiration. It’s like, “Oh man this is really bad we’ve been screwed up; you know what we can do it ourselves.” As opposed to imagine if we took our time to build this incredible business future and plan it that way.
I would say to be honest, hand on heart, I don’t know the split between how most businesses start because I think the reality is there’s a combination of both those things. There some great stories the classic example would be people like Kernel Sanders, who started Kentucky Fried Chicken, not that I’m a KFC fan by the way. Not that KFC has chicken in at the moment, I think if I’m correct.
They’ve finally released a vegan burger, but for those who know Ro he is not a big KFC fan.
Yeah and this isn’t to put KFC down, I personally don’t eat meat.
The message I want to share with you is the KFC story is phenomenal. Their success was astronomical after he went out in his late 60s and basely hit the road and was just trying to find someone to buy his recipe. It evolved into KFC eventually, but that was a business that was born out of a lot challenge and a lot of difficulty and some of the most famous businesses have come from that. Some of the famous success stories have come from that. If you look at Sylvester Stallone story, for example, he was absolutely brassic.
He wrote the story for Rocky and had a business idea, he goes to the table and he wants to be Rocky. So although people liked the actual manuscript and liked what he’d written they go, “yeah we’ve got some ideas of people we can put into this.” He is like no, it’s got to be me, I want to be Rocky. They were like, “look at your face man, look at the way you speak.”
Literally they took the mick out of him, so he at that point out of this incredible adversity chose to hang on. He was literally living on the street; he couldn’t afford to feed himself but he just waited and people offered him money and he said no. Because he didn’t want the money he wanted less money, but he wanted the part because he believed this could become something fantastic.
So there’s an idea of him choosing a partnership working with people that finally aligned with his values. And yes, it was born out of a place of pain it wasn’t out of pleasure really. But that resulted in an incredible legacy which became phenomenally successful as we know with whole of the Rocky brand.
There are so many different ways it can be shaped up. I think the difference is when you’re in pain, you might take on business partners out of literally desperation, and when you’re excited with somebody and you meet with somebody you go, “Let’s do this business.” You might go into business with them because you’re excited, but neither of those two reasons are a logical way to assess a person and the partnership and the values, because you’re only looking at it from one perspective. I don’t know if this is making sense I’m trying to paint a big picture.
If you’re listening to this right now and you’re thinking I’m on the pain, the pleasure side Harms, do you understand what I’m trying to say about those two driving forces?
Yes, there’s more to it.
Let’s dive in a bit more detail and look at some of the most common mistakes you’ve personally seen.
Because you’ve worked with so many people to help develop their wealth side of them, the human side of them, and in terms of the business side. I’d imagine you’ve coached business partners; you’ve coached individuals who need to find a business partner.
So during this process what are the common mistakes you see people make when they’re deciding to team up or when they’re choosing a business partner.
We’ve covered some of them and I’ll reflect it back to you in a minute as well, because I want to have this older head, younger head vision and you just described something that is very interesting about millennial’s and I think you’re right.
There is definitely a lack of understanding of how business can work and also, as you said, I think sometimes it might appear to be too easy, but actually it’s not. But on the outside, it can look like that especially now you can go on YouTube suddenly up comes an image of a guy in a bar, camera comes up to him and his says, “Hi I don’t work, I haven’t worked for the last two years. I’ve got an online business or I sell stuff on Amazon.” And everyone goes, that looks so easy I’m going to go into business with these people.
It can look on the outside to be easy and I think that’s a mistake people make is they go into a business in answer to your question, common mistakes. They go into the business thinking this is going to be fairly early, I know this subject I can do this, boom and off I go. That’s one mistake.
Let me list out some of the typical ones chasing money is singularly I think the biggest one for most people.
That’s got to be the biggest.
“Going into business I’m going to make money, going to much make this much, if we do this right we will get ourselves free, make enough for a whole year. Come on we can do this. How much profit do you think we can make?” And it’s just like boom, boom, boom focused on the financial returns, I think that’s one big mistake.
One thing I can share Ro within my business one of the businesses actually there are four founders and me and another one of the founders and he’ll probably laugh if he’s listening to this, is even once we had a successful business setup we would talk about micro-projects within the business.
We always started the conversation with oh my god it can make this much money. Look, if we do it this way it can make this much money and it never ever transpired that way. So we stopped talking about it like that now it’s a different conversation, but we learned that and we were both on the same level to have that conversation. But chasing money feels like number one.
I had a conversation with somebody last year whose business was seriously going into trouble and I mean big time, a lot of people upset and even in the conversation I was saying to this person, you’re still focused on money.
I believe the mistakes that have been made here are fundamentally because everything you’ve done has been driven from a place of money as opposed to really understanding your core values, who you want to work with, who are the people doing this project and are those values aligned first and off the back of that, if you follow the thing with passion the success will lead to the money.
But no, the money was always brough to the front of the conversation, in front of the equation, in front of the whole philosophy and this is where I think mistakes really get made. I put my hand up and say I’ve made that myself and we can cover this a bit later on, but for me it’s been a big eye-opener.
Other things include teaming up with your mates. It’s like, “I’ve got this best mate I have known for years we’ve had this idea, we always wanted to do it and now we’ve decided to do it.”
And after six months there are problems, he is not doing this or she’s doing that, she’s not doing that, and all of a sudden the conflicts come in because your mates aren’t necessarily the best people to go into business with. The same thing applies to family members as well. Again, this is where I’ve seen challenges where you’ve got I think a member of your family, your wife’s family in your business.
I think you are managing that in the right ways it’s knowing how to make that work. So if a family member comes into the business you’re aligned with them and you’ve done that very well. But not everybody manages to do that. Most families don’t get on at certain times, imagine over the dinner table at Christmas, there are always going to be family conflicts.
Now you start a business and you try and bring a business alongside the family dynamics that’s like a magnifying glass that will acutely create a fire.
But equally there’s been some amazing family partnerships, so it’s understanding again, people skills and the values etcetera.
I think maybe we can do a podcast on building business as a couple, my wife and I are business partners and we do a lot of work together. I think this can actually expand into another topic because family and beyond that your partner, you’re living under one roof and I’ve shared this in past episodes living under one roof, you are working together all day. How do you divide that up? How do you still create a successful relationship and a business dynamic?
I think we should explore that.
That will be a great topic and while I’m listing these out briefly just be aware I’m not saying these are the only reasons or this was the reason, I’m saying these are multiple reasons how I’ve seen businesses fail and the partnerships haven’t worked.
There’s nothing wrong with focusing on money because the business has to be profitable, but it’s the obsession of that. Teaming up with a friend there’s nothing wrong with that, but there are certain things you need to do before that actually takes place to make sure you’re aligned.
Another one could be not taking the time to understand the vision, two people don’t have the same vision or the vision is we are going to make money, or the vision is we are going to make these products, or the vision is we are going to create this much turnover or the vision is we’re going to expand to five different countries, whatever. But there is so much more than that.
Until the visions are aligned and aligned with the right values, then ultimately that’s just an idea that is you are attempting to monetise, as opposed to a business model and a business vision and a set of values that business is going to show up to the table with.
It’s not just having visions but you’ve got to understand the persons values, how are we going to get to that amazing vision we’ve got in a way that aligns with my values? What if they don’t align with your values?
I think that’s something I thought you did really well when I first sat down with your team, if you remember one of the questions I went around and tried to get clarity on what your different visions were and they were all extremely well aligned, and you could see that in the behaviour of the team that you’re working with. Had they not been you can quickly see if somebody is going to dropout of that team. So values are a big player and we will come back to that later.
Greed and excitement are two things and they can be confused for the same thing. Excited because you’re going to make loads of money, that’s great, but that’s more about money. This is a greed thing creeping back in again.
Here’s an interesting one Ro have you had scenarios and I know this has been quite a new thing to me, certainly within the last year with business relationships.
You mentioned greed there so many of these business partnerships are not typically split 50-50. So, have you had experiences where maybe the business started to get very successful, now somebody’s potential greed has kicked in and said hang on minute that persons making more money than me because this original split was there and so on. Have you ever you seen that yet in people?
Yeah so that’s a good question actually, some years ago I ran some events and what happened was part of what I was offering a bit like what we do with the different programs I run.
If you come to the Communicating with Impact event when you come there we go through an amazing training but people want more. They say can I have coaching and mentoring, can I specialise with communications online, business? What about relationships? So what I discovered was that whilst running events if you stop there people go, well in fact you came to my one my first communications events where we didn’t offer anything and people were like, “hold on a minute there’s nothing else to offer, can’t you offer as something?”
They’ve wanted that next level.
Exactly it’s a bit like coming off the Seekardo here I meant this is free and there is loads of content, but some people want a stronger connection with you and I and some of our amazing team around so they come and join us in the Seekardo. The subscription is not a lot of money per month but people get a lot of value from that, so that’s always been something I’ve realised that people do want more.
I would bring in a couple of people that would help me deliver this and they were running their own type of programs but at a lower cost because they were much smaller events, usually run in a small hall or maybe in their own home. So the costs were a lot lower.
So when I brought them in I would say okay I’m going to be promoting this and this is the price I’m going to promote it for, and they were like you can’t sell it for that. I’d say yeah we can because we are adding this, loads more value, I’m getting involved as well, plus your program. And after I did it a couple of times and people actually bought into this and we are getting great amazing results from it, one of the people who previously been charging about half of what I charged he was like, “okay, I want more money, or I’m going to do it on my own.” I said well okay but do understand I spent a lot money marketing to get people in the room and I’ve adding all these extras as well which you don’t have. He said, “Well I’ll just do it myself,”, I said fair enough and we went in our separate directions and he tried for a while to run the same program that he did before but at the same cost that I was charging for and it didn’t work. His business fell on his face because he didn’t have the funnel to bring people in, but also didn’t have the value to add to them.
So the greed on his part crept in and sadly enough that went nowhere, that relationship and I had known him for a few years prior to that. I just never done business with him.
Yeah and it’s also then linked to the logical side which is what value are you bringing to the business?
How do you contribute to the business and just misunderstanding that in the early days. It could be and this is slightly more solution orientated but it could be that there is a shift because at the start, the values required by one person and then later down the line there is an agreement that once the value shifts so does the percentage that we agreed on. There’s got to be that tied into the pre-agreement.
By the way that can include shareholdings in the company, so when you set a company up you hold certain shareholdings aside and a new person comes in with a lot of experience that can be a challenge by the way.
I’ve had that experience where you have a business and there are two or three partners and you want to bring one more in, and this new person coming in has got huge amount of experience, but nobody wants to give up their shares. It’s like, “I’m not going to give him the shares”, yeah but look what it can do for the business. “But I’m going to get 4% less shares.” Yes, I know but what if they can add 100% to our revenue and your extra 4% isn’t going to be as profitable as giving up 4% but to make a lot more profit.
It’s really these subtle conversations that have to happen early in any business.
Here’s the interesting thing Ro you say subtle conversations, but the thing that springs to mind is it’s very challenging and I think one of the biggest mistakes that I’ve personally seen is when two people where their values align, they may be excited about the product more than the actual money itself, the process. But their level of personal development is completely different.
Just imagine one person’s done years and years and years of personal development maturing themselves, becoming really self-aware, understanding themselves, their skill set. Where the other person hasn’t done any of that. Now that’s often a challenge as well because the dream, division, goal setting will also be completely different. This is what is really cool about the Seekardo community if somebody decided to team up in there, they’ve all gone through a level of personal development. Everybody around that environment is amazing in the way that they’ve spent time on mastering their own skills, whatever they may be.
I think that’s a big thing I’ve spotted which allows people not to have those candid conversations, they are subtle, but I also believe that they are quite candid.
I think when you spoke to my team, my business partners in the early days it was a case of you’re going to have to ask yourself these tough questions you know. What happens if one you dies? What happens if one of you has a child next year and it’s still early in the business? What happens when these scenarios play out? Not having that conversation is probably a key mistake now.
I enjoyed that face-to-face coaching when we first met because you gave me permission to be direct and I think it’s good to have that level of straight conversation early, because it might even be there’s a niggling thought in the back of somebody’s mind and they didn’t want to bring it up. Whereas if you have an external coach or mentor or someone that does that it’s like, “oh my god thank goodness you said that because I’ve wondering about that but I didn’t want to say anything.”
These things are great and this is where personal development comes it because at certain and you and I have very open, candid conversations and I think that enables us to keep doing what we’re doing and all the support you’ve given me. And what we’re doing with Communicating with Impact, the Seekardo that started off as almost two parallel conversations and now it’s merged into one conversation with a common goal, to impact and help as many people as possible, but it came through a lot of hard asked questions. That’s certainly helped that growth happen quickly.
Just as in this brief two-minute conversation and what I’ve heard there is, not having a mentor or coach or advisor in place who can sit there and just be objective.
People often I believe the misconception is you’ve got to be a really large company and have a board of directors or have a business coach who will look at your business objectively when you make it.
But it is actually the coach and the mentor can help get you there at an accelerated pace and if there’s something like you said if one business partner doesn’t want to say it to you, but if you asked the right question as the intermediary or the objective person in the room, they may open up and you can quickly resolve something that may have been bottled up for years and years. And then it becomes a catastrophic explosion.
The funny thing is, the more successful people get I’ve noticed that there much more tuned into bringing on board whoever they need to get them to the next level, they don’t question it. Classic example Richard Branson has and will continue do so I’m sure advocated, promoted and recommended to any young entrepreneurs or people come through his company Virgin,find a mentor within the company. Or if you’re starting a business find a mentor find somebody to bring on board with you.
I literally got a message at the weekend from somebody who is highly successful in network marketing and this person was saying, “I was thinking about you last night because I’ve got a member of my team who’s wanting to move to another level and they just need a good coach and you immediately came to mind.”
And that’s because, at the level she’s at she knows you need someone above you, that has a different perspective and can see things differently to just push the buttons and prod you and make you accountable.
Whereas I find a lot of people stuck in jobs who haven’t started a business because they’re used to just doing something on their own, they really struggle with the idea of bringing somebody in from the outside to guide them. And yet that extra guidance could move them 10,15 steps further and then they are right now. So spot on, I think that’s another major mistake people make when it comes to working and finding partners and choosing the right people to have around you.
I think that’s a great summary in terms of answering the question, the common mistakes.
As always I’ll pop that onto the show notes growthtribes.com/pod cast and you’ll find the show notes there because if you just quickly glance at that, even when you look at the show notes or you’re listening to this right now and you’re thinking and you’re being very self-aware, “I’m doing this just to chase the money, actually I’ve got this property deal and I’m just trying to attract money, but I don’t care whose money it is.”
These are times just take a pause and say, would it be better if I chose the right business partner the right way and we are going to continue to explore that.
Before we go into the solution part is there any other personal because you’ve coached me and my team through this, but any other examples maybe you can share a painful story, so the listeners at home know just be very self-aware during the excitement phase because you can save a hell of a lot of pain.
Is there any other personal example, or one example you could share with the listeners at home?
How long have we got?
I’m looking back about 30 years and there’s been some seriously painful ones and I think one of the ones that stands out for me actually was about 10, 12 years ago when I was in a business with a couple other partners and one of these people I’d known for some years.
I had gone out and done different experiences with this person and I had got to a point in the relationship with him where I didn’t really question things very much in terms of decisions and choices that were made, because we had done a lot of stuff together on a personal level and I trusted him in his nature that he would be honourable and be honest about what was going on if anything was not correct.
What I didn’t realise was that on a personal level, I thought he was out independently working to me and doing consultancy work generating income because we were basically starting a business.
So when you start a business unless you’re both independently financially secure of each other you have to have some kind of financial support within the business and we chose not to draw from the business for the first six to 12 months, on the understanding that we were both able to support ourselves externally.
What I didn’t realise was he actually wasn’t doing that and he was spending money on cards and loans and borrowing and literally propping up his lifestyle. By doing that to the tune of £250,000, £300,000 and that imploded about a year in when we were dealing with some banks who found out about his financial situation. Through all of that, he never once mentioned the actual situation he was going into and because he didn’t do that, the banks treated myself and the other business partners and him all with the same, painted us with the same brush.
That meant we lost a lot of money, they pulled funding from us on some projects we were doing and it was really painful. I was pissed off because I always thought I would spot things like this. I had a gut feeling, normally with people, very intuitive and infinitely more now than I was then. And if you asked me Ro, how did you miss that? It was number one in my list above chasing the money because we were looking at some really big projects, big profitability.
Also and this is something I didn’t mention actually earlier on and it might be worth seeing if you’ve come across this yourself is he was quite a strong character and although I’m a strong character in his area he was good at what he knew and I thought I trust that, I’ll let it play out.
Because of that he steered certain areas of the business and I didn’t really get involved because I trusted. I was so focused on this couple of projects we were going to make a lot of money on. I just missed all the little signs, little cracks and it’s purely down to chasing money.
It cost me a couple hundred grand or more that mistake and more importantly if you add up the potential business that was lost, the pain of it and even now when I look back I still think, how did I make that mistake. So I try and use that as a way to teach other people.
Sorry, I’m getting a bit serious here but is this making sense? Do you understand the picture I’m trying to paint?
I do understand that picture and I’m taking this lesson on and hopefully people listening at home is that, when you are with a business partner and who you have chosen to be with, you are linked to them. Reputationally that’s what I’m hearing, emotionally linked to them, you’re going to spend a lot of time with them and also linked to them in regards to trust.
Because ultimately the reason one of the reasons you bring in business partners is the skill set that they bring to the table and you have to trust that they can deliver that part of the skill set. Of course I don’t know the details but just looking at it as a lesson if I were to take lessons from this picture you painted is we have to trust.
I know you don’t want to pry but to give you some ideas, background was MBA, he had more of a business academically, a business background, even though there’s a 10-year gap between us, he’s younger than me. I leveraged of the thought okay he’s very switched on he has this skill set. He was very keen to bring on staff very quickly, which increased our outgoing costs and all these sorts of things. Get a little bit more prestigious place to rent for the offices and all of that started to play out.
Of course I’m off doing my thing where my skill set is creating he was managing and I missed it.Completely missed it.
What would you say if there’s one lesson that we can give to the listeners at home from this picture? What can we give them from that?
Can I do it at as a section at the end? Let’s give it a name, what to consider when choosing the right business partner. Can I do that at the end?
That might be better because there are several lessons from this.
I’ll add a few other examples.
Oh my god there are more?
Again to do with partners right, so that was a partnership in a limited company, this is similar to a partnership and again there are different structures and maybe a conversation for another day.
But this is somebody who I only discovered after I’d been in business with this person for about a year and a half, it was very much like a chameleon. What I mean by that is you’re going to meet certain people along the way that always seem to mould to what you say and what you do. They always seem to sort of fit in around what you’re saying. You don’t just feel like you’re fitting in you just think it’s a good fit here.
So for one of a better word they were a yes person, they were a pleaser.
What I found afterwards and it was only when I pulled it apart and dissected it, again this is my evolution as a human being and a businessperson as well. Is that when we were discussing things from a business perspective, and I was saying I really think we should do this and these are the values we should operate from. They would say absolutely, totally agree with that, but they weren’t acting that way.
Little things they were doing whereas I might want to get back to people quickly and if I felt that we should give them a refund.
One example was an angel investor that lent some money to us early on one of our projects on a business project and it got to the point where we were due to repay them, but there were a few challenges in the business. I was like we can re-juggle some money and pay them back with this money, “no, no we will pay them back when the project finishes”. And I said I know but we need to keep our promise, we both agreed that and now we’ve gone beyond that period.
It took time to extract that money back out to pay the other person back. So what I found was my business partner was saying yes to me and in other words verbally pretending for one of a better word to align with my values but was not acting accordingly.
In other words his values were not aligned with mine at all, some were but some of the core ones in business weren’t. It got really annoying and in the end we went our separate ways and it wasn’t a pleasant breakup.
I was so pissed off because again I missed the signals and you’ve got to bear in mind going back 10, 15 years, so I was probably in my late 30s, early 40s, and you might think, but that’s still pretty old.
Trust me, now I’m like a bloody mind reader. In fact we teach that on Communicating with Impact. You know me as you’ve been around me and that’s probably where I developed the skill actually.
Yeah, I’ve been around you.
And we joke about it, we say you can read minds. But I almost had to out of experience of missing things, and why, it goes back to what you asked earlier on, passionate about business, great ideas, great product, great service, going to make lots of money. That’s where the focus was, it was not on the relationship of the business with that partner.
If you’re listening to this at home this would be my approach if I was listening to Ro telling his personal stories is, just to log them, mentally long them. Feel the story and then just be aware of that.
Don’t paint every one of your business partners with this and distrust them from day one, but what I’m saying is just keep these stories in the back of your mind, because I often find Ro these kinds of stories and experiences that your generation and the mentors and coaches of your generation share with my generation, almost that transference of generational knowledge is, we are now aware of this. Otherwise we have to go through the pain.
If I wasn’t aware of this I’d have to go through the pain of this, lose the money, lose friendships, lose great bonds that we find with people and I guess this is an interesting one because you and I partner on a few things.
What I don’t see often and maybe you can see it differently is there a benefit to a more mature person and somebody of my generation becoming business partners, teaming up?
You’re right, it doesn’t happen very often. I think it’s partly because of the egos of the older generation possibly and not wanting to do that. I think also younger people not necessarily being personally developed enough to find the right person.
The law of attraction plays out massively, you and I came through that journey and your development and where I was at that time I think we knew there was a very deep connection and it just aligned. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does it’s a great one to jump onto.
You see people doing the apprentice and trying to work with Richard Branson. That’s what they’re doing, they’re looking for that role. Often it’s more a mentoring role than an actual business partnership I think if you look around.
Yeah, I think the Apprentice is a great example.
Correct me if I’m wrong but would it be fair to say that there is a generation whether it’s within that millennial generation, i.e. somewhere in that grouping. There’s definitely a vibe of I can do it on my own type attitude, the DIY we call it. I think that could be one of the reasons not necessarily you but certain people within your generation, I would tend towards the slightly younger than the older part of the millennials who think, “sod it I’ll give it a go myself, I’m young if I fuck up and I can come back and give it a go later.”
Yeah and I just struggle to wrap my head around that and I see that more than I see people standing up saying, hey, I need some help, or I’ve got some questions that need answering or going to successful businesspeople and saying this is the scenario, or coaches or mentors who are in that field. I see less of that, unfortunately. But I do see more of I’m going to give it a go.
I think partly it’s because of you see the success story online,you see the amazing especially tech entrepreneurs, this is massive in the tech entrepreneur circle. You see them just at the endpoint, but you don’t see all of the people that has helped them guided them along the way until they mention it right at the end. It’s often in brief passing because it’s often a private conversation.
These people have their reputation to protect as well, and often if it is a public company they’ve got to protect a lot more than just their reputation. You don’t often hear about what happens behind the scenes unless you start to read their autobiographies and you dive into their stories, you find almost in every chapter there’s somebody there playing a part, helping them nudge them along with their skill set.
I think if my generation can really understand that or just go and explore some of these case studies you will very quickly realise that they just did not do this by themselves. Their great success came when they had as many advisers around the table as possible and then they make their independent decision.
We dedicated a whole podcast to the concept of coaches and mentors and if you haven’t listened to it I strongly recommend you have a listen to that particular one.
Yes, that episode was why are coaches and mentors more important now than ever. And yes that’s business-related as well, but also career change related, there is a lot of destruction happening on a global scale. And if you don’t reach out to these people who are there to guide you know that is their profession, that’s what they’re trained to do, then everything is going to be that much harder.
I think my generation think we are getting away with it, we are currently in good time in the economy where people are in jobs, people are hiring, albeit the salaries are not that great, but they are hiring.
When that changes my generation are going to suffer and I just hope they put the ego aside before that actually happens. That’s the only thing I’m going to hope for.
Yeah, and I know this is a slightly different conversation because we talking about business partners being older but to some extent a good mentor plays that role as well.
Just staying on this theme before because you asked about examples let me give you two other quick ones.
One is when I was in my job, so this is not in business but in a job. What I found was and this is great for anyone listening to this because the theme of today is how do I choose the right business partner? But actually this is how do I choose as you said earlier the right boss, the right company and I went off to work for a company in my mid-20s, mid-to-late 20s and I realised very quickly that my values did not align with the directors that were there.
Now it’s not that I didn’t like them because they were nice people, but they had a very specific set of values they wanted me to operate by in order to become and ultimately a future director of that company.
I was a young 20 something year old but I was reading a lot of personal development stuff at that time and I was extremely entrepreneurial by nature. I wanted to go do something myself, I wanted independence and I found that the values of the company were about tug the line, do what we say, follow the structure, do this. Mine were completely misaligned.
Mine were like I want to go and be entrepreneurial, I don’t want to tug the line, I don’t want to fit into this conformity system and I don’t want to climb the corporate ladder that leads me to the result you guys have got. So we completely clashed and I felt uncomfortable every single day I was going in there.
What kept me going was I needed a salary at the time, I hadn’t got financial dependents in place, I hadn’t got my business off the ground at the time which I was starting on the side. I had this real conflict. I think a lot of people listening to this have probably faced the same thing. “You don’t understand I want this job because of the income.” I get that but you have to ask the question is that job a long-term job or a short-term job? If it’s a long-term job the salary at the beginning might be great but it will eat away at your soul the longer you’re there.
The same way you felt you had to leave your job eventually Harminder, because I think you got to that point, but up until then you were quite aligned with what you’re doing because it felt right for you. But there was a point when you started to become misaligned and I watched that and I think that’s because you started to have a greater value of freedom, time with your beautiful wife, being up to help other people.
How can you do that if you’re stuck in a 9-to-5 working for somebody else?
I don’t know if that’s true or not but that’s what I observed within you.
Eating at your soul. I think that defines it quite well.
I think that’s a nice way for me to describe it when people ask how was that feeling, I think it was a case of when something is eating away at your soul it’s time to make a change and I have to then disconnect from that partnership. That partnership is me as an employee, and that boss, employee in that team or that company or the values. In your example you were misaligned with the values of the directors and that’s the time to step away.
Another quick one here just for anyone listening to this is be careful of being drawn in for the wrong reasons.
I just spoke to somebody over the weekend actually who felt that they were being bullied by their business partner and the business partner was older, quite manipulative and very persuasive. That level of persuasion selling the younger person I was speaking to and I say young he is in his 40s, selling him on the idea that my values are aligned with yours don’t worry we’ll do great stuff together.
But as soon as they started the business the bullying started and I see it on a corporate level. I see people literally pandering to someone else purely because they’re afraid to walk away from the income, or they’re afraid to say no to somebody or they don’t want to seem to be a failure.
The truth is, if you are not aligned with somebody else it’s not a failure to walk away, you have to be aligned with yourself, your core values, you want the business to grow in a way that contributes for the greater good of the world and yourself and the people around you. If it’s not doing that, walk way.
I love that because by walking away I would say you cannot have that many business partners in your life. Ultimately you’re going to have one or two, but by walking away from one, you open the door to another amazing one when the time is right.
When you’ve taken the lessons from that partnership, number one, and then you apply them to partnership number two. It could be number two, three or four is your best business partner ever.
The best scenario I guess Ro is you have your business partners and they’re your business partners for life. But through this exploration process hopefully we can give people a few pointers so they go through less business partners for the wrong reason.
Of course you have multiple business partners for a great reason as in you do lots of amazing things and you’re scaling up, but if it’s for a case of they’re not the right business partner then hopefully some of these tips later in today’s episode when we talk about what to consider when choosing the right business partner, we can dive into those.
Yeah and we’re going to get to those in a bit.
I think that will be a nice way to round this off because a lot of this and I know we are spending a bit of time on this; it’s awareness isn’t it? In Turning Point, the first step to change is awareness. You might have heard one sentence or one phrase that either myself or Harminder has said today and you go, oh my god, that’s exactly how I feel. If you’re feeling that, that’s probably a little signs saying right it’s time for change, time to reflect and we can give you a few things to wrap up with when we finish today on that.
Yes and what I was going to say was I’m feeling a bit heavy, some of those stories I’m like oh my goodness, I need to be careful of the business partners I approach in the future.
That’s true, I don’t want to scare you off.
We don’t want to scare you off listeners so what are the benefits of working with a business partner?
Because there’s got to be a good side to this but I think Ro has painted a picture of some scenarios to make you aware. I think you summed that up really nicely. I think we should also touch on the same side of this, the ying and yang of this, the other side is what are the benefits.?
Why on earth knowing that all these things can happen, why on earth even go try and find a business partner in the first place? Have you got some ideas to kick us off with and I can maybe add some as well.
Let me through a few in and then you can jump in as well.
The obvious one is to grow the business faster, two people, three people coming together, working with great skills. There’s no doubt that if you are aligned and the values align, the passion is there, the creativity is there, the enthusiasms there, the funds are there between you, the business will grow faster.
On your own it’s very hard to grow a business rapidly just purely solely on your own because you’re limited on 24 hours a day, unless you want to kill yourself or your family relationships. So growing the business fast is number one.
Number two I would say is I find that when there’s more people together in a business the right people then more opportunity seems to come your way because you’re all connected in your own universe.
We had this conversation just this weekend. I think I dropped you a couple of messages about some of the people I’ve reached out to because we have some events coming up and they’re really keen to come back and reconnect with me. This is about having people within your network and they’re now aligning with the people in your business partners network and suddenly it’s the multiplication of these things, the geometric growth that can happen when all these opportunities come together.
Let’s put a practical example around that. Imagine my co-founders of one of the companies we are international, there are three of us in the UK, one in the US.
Now imagine all four or three of us depending on you where we are geographically located, all went to our own business networking events or networking meetings. There are many across the country, just hook into a really fruitful one where there are exciting, dynamic things going on at that networking event. Imagine all four of us did that consistently, we’ve now opened up globally four business networks.
Now that’s really difficult if you’re just by yourself, how do you tap into the US market? How do you tap into the UK market?
How do you tap into the European market on that kind of scale?
It’s very difficult when you’re by yourself you’re almost limited to your local town or that town you can get to on that specific day.
You know it’s interesting as well, because when we talk about this it’s also about this whole coordination and opportunities. There is a big age gap between you and I but when we decided to create Seekardo the most logical way to do it from my perspective was I have a certain skill set and experience to bring to the table.
You as a team are younger and know social media but also have a skill set that I don’t have. And so the opportunities were much better for us to work together than me to say let me engage these people. Because a part of me was I wanted to create a legacy that we could have for years to come. And when I’m not around there are still 20, 30, 40 years more of life in you to carry that forward.
The nice thing about contrast between young and old is that there is a chance for those years of experience to be carried forward through the younger generation as well as.
You mentioned there you’re almost sharing the workload as well, bringing different skill to the tables. You’ve got unique skill set as you said. If you take a property perspective you may be the person on the ground, you got a specific skill set somebody else in the business may be a master at raising finance for the business, so they are off doing that.You can share that workload, share the skill set and it becomes very scalable when you do things like that.
Without a doubt and again two more great reasons why it can work if you get the right alignment.
Also it’s having someone to bounce off, it’s knowing that you’ve got someone there that you go into the office with, on the phone or however the business is set up where you’re both aiming or if there are more of you in the business, you’re in for the same purpose.
You just challenge each other because you might have blind spots that you haven’t seen or your enthusiasm might blind you or, you could be having an off day and someone else in the team picks something up that you didn’t pick up.
Remember, ultimately we’re all trying to get the same place, so having someone that has the same interest as you, the same values as you and at the same time wants to see the success of the business, then if there’s something that’s not quite right, you can bounce off it off them and then say what about this?
That’s a massive one for me.
The obvious ones we talk about leveraging your time and your skills. There might be things that you don’t have the physical time to do but your business partner can do on that particular day or that occasion, same thing with the skill set as well. That plays out in a massive way as well.
Yeah, I think I’ve mentioned leveraging location and time zones. I was having a conversation with somebody one of my partners in the US and also somebody in the far east, and we worked out that we could technically be working and I think this is why big corporations do it. But as a small company; we were technically working for 24-hours a day.
Our work productivity, our conversation could constantly be flowing 24 hours a day. When I’m asleep they’re awake, when they’re awake I’m asleep.
It’s such a phenomenal thing and I think that’s certainly changed in my generation. I think big corporations have adopted this; this is the first thing they adopted when they started to globalise.
But there’s possibly a bit of resistance to that. When I’ve worked with clients that were not quite tech savvy and I don’t know if that’s the right word to use, but they always want to meet face-to-face. The client meeting has to be face to face. There’s none of this remote working, whereas ensuring that your communication with your business partners can be done like that you can leverage it extremely well.
We use a tool called Slack and that allows us to constantly be working within our own working hours. So it allows you to leverage your own life as well. I can work in my slot and then live my life in that slot over there. I think leveraging time, skills, location, time zones, they all play a part and it’s phenomenal.
Added to that you’ve got different perspectives from life experiences we talked already, different cultural experiences. There are so many amazing benefits to working with the right business partner or business partners, so hopefully that’s a little bit more balanced to what I talked about with you.
I feel better now.
I was trying to paint a dark picture but I think it’s important to walk in with eyes wide open as opposed to eyes shut and think oh shit I didn’t know about that; I wish you told me earlier.
Yeah I feel better about my business partners now.
They’re going to be listening to this so you didn’t mean it quite like that did you?
Absolutely not idea it is just that element.
The positive thing for me Ro personally we’ve worked through this process, we talked about the benefits, we talked about what we are going to cover later in the next section here.
We’ve covered this, but many of the listeners may not have considered this and are falling into the typical trap off and I will say it again, we’re excited, we’re chasing the money, I need to get this project started and the only way to do it is if I bring this partner on board. There’s all of that still happening the background whereas there’s lots of benefits to this but if you take your time to work through the process we will share in a moment, then you can avoid this.
I’ve avoided these elements because Ro you’ve coached us through this essentially, you mentored us through this process and you’re constantly just checking in. You have that constant check in process, asking that question when you feel it’s the right time to ask the question.
I don’t know if you remember but about a year ago we were probably somewhere on a motorway services and I think we had been coming back looking at some properties, or possibly went for a presentation. You were looking at the possibility of working with somebody that had quite a lot of cash to invest, I don’t know if you remember this.
I remember this yeah.
The conversation was splitting the cash flow on some HMO’s, these are houses of multiple occupation properties for anyone listening who doesn’t know that, high income during properties. I remember asking the question, how long do you want this relationship to be with these people?
Because if they put the money in, is this income for life and what happens in the event of their death?
Do their kids then want to take the money back?
Do they want to get rid of the properties?
Are you and Geena going to have kids?
What entity are you going to put these properties into?
What if the market changes and the income isn’t as high and more work is needed, have they got any experience?
Do they invest in property themselves?
I remember I just sat and unloaded I think over a coffee.
I sat there in silence.
Your face was like oh right okay, I was just thinking there is quite a lot of money here.I just know it because of my experiences of making those kind of mistakes.
Yeah and if you’re listening at home and that’s the scenario you’ve recently gone through it feels uncomfortable, if feels like why is Ro trying to take all the excitement out of this, but we need that conversation.
We need somebody to tell us those things not constantly but certainly how Ro and I had that conversation in a compressed way, in an organised way. The flipside of this Ro I guess, because this is not to be confused with somebody being negative. “Ro you sound so negative about this partnership, somebody wants to give Harms some money to build this portfolio.” What Ro is doing is talking about the real-life scenarios to avoid those catastrophic mistakes.
The negative would be when you’ve got those people around you saying, “it’s not going to work. You should avoid that person.” And they’re saying this to you every single week and they are only saying this to you because when it is catastrophic they can say I told you so, I told you that was going to happen.
Rather than actually being a coach, mentor and actually having gone through it themselves. So, Ro I think you were possibly saying a lot of those things to me from personal experience.
Yeah, and it was really to go away and think about it, and reflect, and discuss it and some of it you had thought about and some you were like, “that’s a very good point.” That’s always the challenge when somebody dangles whether it’s I’ve got loads of time, experience, got loads of money.
That’s usually the three things that they’re going to dangle in front of you and that’s a big carrot. You’ve got to weight that carrot against all the other factors which we can come onto now if you want, which is things I think you need to consider when choosing the right business partner.
Yeah, let’s do it.
Now is the time if you’re sitting here listening and you’ve got a notepad to take these notes down because this is the gold.
We’ve covered why this is important.
Hold on a minute I the gold we’ve already given them, this is like the icing on the gold. Hopefully if anyone’s really having doubts it’s probably solidified those doubts and gone right thanks guys. I think this is as much value in what we’ve done or about to give them, that’s my personal view.
I think there are a few WhatsApp messages that have gone off saying I think we need to assess this partnership we’re about to get into.
We’ve covered why this is important. We also spoke about the common mistakes and Ro’s given some of his personal scenarios, examples. You painted the dark side of business partnerships but also we’ve give you the benefits because the reason businesses are often so successful is because they have some real partnerships who are the driving force. They can share the load, create more opportunities, leveraged the time, skills, locations and all that amazing stuff.
Now let’s give them a task list where they can have a checklist as such to consider what things to consider when choosing the right business partner.
Yeah, okay, so I’ve got eight things actually, I made a little note of them before we came onto the call because I had a feeling that we are going to need to cover something like this. I’ll elaborate on the mas I’ve got a couple of points I’ve made.
The first one is know what you want from this venture. If it’s a business venture what do you want from it?
How does it look?
How does it feel?
We’ve talked about this in the past, visualising. But what forget everybody else. What do you personally want from this?
Is it time?
Do you want to win time back?
Do you want to make more money?
Do you want to raise your profile?
Do you want to build a business that becomes an empire?
Do you want to create something that is going to go out and touch thousands, millions of lives around the world?
What is it you personally want from this yourself?
Because you’ve got to work back from that endpoint, any coaching I do it starts with the endpoint first. You may remember just recently we started the coaching with Kyle, who is one of the members of the Seekardo. You probably remember Harms the call was about 45 minutes of live coaching session and basically I wanted him to describe how it looked at the other end. The financial side of his life at the other end not now, but at the end and that’s the same thing here in business. It’s how do you want it to look?
I’ll add in there Ro it’s okay to want it to look like a lifestyle business as well. I think there’s a lot of push for 10 X, there is a lot of push for growth,have the biggest company, the biggest empire makes the most money.
But actually if you’ve got a couple of business partners or three, four of you and you’re creating a lifestyle business because one, you want to be autonomous, you want to be your own bosses. You want to have that entrepreneurial feeling; you want to have a non-capped salary so you can continue to earn as much as you want to put in terms of input that equals the output there.
So don’t dismiss a lifestyle business. It’s okay to want to tend towards that as well.
That’s a great point and part of that I guess then is and we talk more about this when we are coaching on this, but how do you want to feel?
How do you want every day to feel?
How do you want the lifetime you spend in the business?
All of those things and I spoke to somebody just recently and they’ve been to watch a speaker who does a lot of stuff with social media and marketing themselves and they were saying that this person just seemed, although they’re very successful in what they do, they just seemed almost exhausted. It’s like the business had taken over them and they built something so big now that it’s very hard to be able to step away or have the time that you want for yourself.
Be mindful of if you’re going to build something big, how is that going to look for you in the future and how can you manage that around your family, kids and all of all the amazing things you want for yourself on a personal level.
It’s not just about the success of the business it’s the whole thing, which is what Harms is talking about the lifestyle.
Yeah and I think personal branding approaches, so personal branding, YouTube sensations. Some of the people I love on YouTube they would produce one perfectly edited piece of video content every single day and then five years later, they’re doing an honest share to their channel and their subscribers saying that was hard and I don’t think it was worth it.
It’s understanding exactly what Ro said, number one work and know what you want from this to start with. I know travel bloggers who tried it and said no, not for me and they look at these inspiring people, but you have to know what you want, what you want it to look like, feel like. And what’s right for you, it doesn’t have to be a competition against somebody else’s dream.
This is a big one for me and again I haven’t got a lot of time to going into it now, if you go and have a read of the Turning Point book actually which I wrote in 2011, there’s a whole chapter on values alignment.
If you want to see something a little bit more visual go into the Seekardo community which Harms can give you a link at the end of this but within the Seekardo community, in the vault there we have a whole series on basically how to align your values on a personal and professional level. This is really important.
Your values on a personal level should pretty much match your professional values but it might be that your business is building a certain product or service that you feel has to have a very core set of values and how it presents itself, how it operates, which should be essentially what you do on a personal level, but remember we are talking about a business now.
If you don’t know what I mean by value, you can value health for example. So I want to be healthy, I want to feel healthy that means I value health. Integrity. I want to have integrity, I value integrity, I want the business to have integrity so that would be another value.
Another value might be for example, great service so you value service, you value being well serviced by people and you want your business to have a business that offers great service to other people.
You would create a set of values and when I say create you already have them, but you may need to just double check your alignment of values, the hierarchy of your values and how you want that to show upon a professional level.
Without that I personally wouldn’t even think about starting a business with somebody else, I don’t know if you agree with that or not Harms, but my experience has been over the years that people run in it and this goes back to the top of the equation. If I go back up to what we talked about early on, I value success, I value money okay, but that’s just one thing. That’s how people start off together but of course there is a whole bunch of other values that are not aligned and that’s were people get into trouble, which I’ll come to in number three.
Yeah, I would say that video series on values is a must. It almost allows you to create such a strong foundation for your life and just head over to the Seekardo meet up we have got one coming up soon depending on when you listen to this. The last time we did a values exercise that’s a good place to ask us these questions and value hierarchy exercises. That’s what we did last time, it’s a lot of fun.
We did and it was such a big subject. That was great because even people in the audience were like oh my gosh, just this one exercise has shifted what I’m going to do now on Monday with my business.
Yeah, a lot of surprises on how it works, just phenomenal.
Number three is establish your values in your business partners.
Now you’re clear on what you want, you’ve set the ground rules. You both come to the table they should be doing the same and if you’re aligned fantastic and if you’re not brilliant, it means that you’re not supposed to work together. Simple as that. “Yeah but they’ve got loads of money.” I know that but look at the values, you value health, you value time with your family, you value contribution towards your customers, you value success and all these other things and they value most of those but what if they’re not aligned with the value of health.
What if they say, “yeah, I broke up with my wife or my husband because I was always working long hours. So to be honest with you I love doing business I just haven’t got time with the family right now.” And you’re going in and you want to build the business to allow your lifestyle to be connected with your family, there’s going to be a tug-of-war there because, when push comes to shove and the hours need to be put in you’ve already defined that you’re not prepared to give up certain times away from your family and they’re like, “what do you mean man? The business has got to succeed, you’re a loser”.
You’ll hear all sorts of stressful conversations that kick off that’s really important.
Also the values around money. How do they value borrowing money from other people? That’s a great one to write down. How do they value paying people back if money is owed?
All these things, so you’ve got to be sure on your values before you can then find out what there’s are and you have to ask them. I’d go as far as to put them in a scenario. Let’s say Harminder is coming into business with me and we are going to sell widgets to people. Harms what if one of our widgets doesn’t work, what do you feel about that? “Well they bought it so it’s tough shit. We have 14-day money back guarantee period. And after that it’s their problem.” What if they come back after three weeks and it’s broken? “You know it it’s 14-day money back guarantee. After that, sorry.”
If your values are, but they bought our product with good intentions and it didn’t work after three weeks we’ve got to them a refund. “No, we’ve got to stick to our rules.”
Now again, it sounds like an extreme example, but it’s subtle things like this that if you can put a scenario at somebody’s table, how do you handle pressure?
What if something happens to you financially?
What if you decide you’re fed up with the business how are you going to deal with that? If you create the scenarios to start with and then you look at how they react to you, you’ll get a sense of their values.
Sorry I’m going off in a bit of a tangent but it’s not really, I’m trying to paint a bigger picture here.
This is great Ro and you know and I would say even take it to some extreme scenarios.
What if we lose our biggest clients?
What if we can’t pay our staff?
What if we can’t pay our own salaries?
All of these are critical questions and often we just don’t feel it or we won’t know what’s going to happen unless we are in the scenario itself and then it’s too late. Then that’s when the conflict arises. I think go out for dinner, sit around a board meeting, have a coach or mentor to ask you these questions.
Prepare a list and have somebody objectively ask these questions and jot down your responses, so you can share without feeling like Ro’s mentioned it, somebody’s more charismatic. Somebody’s a stronger character, somebody is more influential because we are humans. It’s going to play out naturally. Somebody’s done Communicating with Impact so they can articulate themselves fantastically but somebody who hasn’t may struggle to articulate what they need to say.
So have somebody objectively just sit there and that’s another way to do that if you’re unsure how to approach those routes. Some of the scenarios Ro do make you uncomfortable, because when you coached me I was thinking, oh goodness I hadn’t thought of that and you almost transport yourself there. You know immediately how you would feel in that scenario and it’s like I don’t want to be in that scenario, so paint the picture early.
Again when you do that you sometimes see people get stressed because it creates a scenario that’s a stressed one and you can see how they react to it.That also ties into their beliefs and people’s beliefs are another whole conversation together. Going back to Turning Point book there’s a chapter and where I list out typical examples of beliefs and limiting beliefs versus empowering beliefs.
We have the same thing in the Seekardo vault where there’s a whole series on this, I’m looking at beliefs, identifying limiting beliefs and then breaking through them.
That might be an exercise that you may need to do with your business partner prior to starting a business to make sure there’s no potential blocks there on beliefs and values. That kind of puts us into step four or question four which is how you want the business to conduct itself?
Having established what their beliefs are and their values are, your beliefs and your values, then the question then is how do we want our business to conduct itself?
How do we want to be perceived externally, internally?
How do we want our employees to feel about our business?
How do we want our customers to perceive our business?
Do we want the business to have a certain message in which case what is that message?
I spoke to somebody over the last couple of days and they’ve been to an experience with a seminar company and they said it was amazing from start to finish. From the first point of contact to the day before, the hotel address, getting my lanyard, going into the room, getting a student number so if I lost something I’d say my student number is this. It was great.
I think these are important things, it’s how do you want your widget company to look on the outside? How does your flower shop company, how does your internet business want to look? How are you going to be remembered when you’re not there when people talk about your business, that’s really number four.
How would you want the culture to grow within your community? That is a big topic to explore and that’s not for this podcast because it’s such a difficult thing to define, but I’d say what do you want your culture to be like? Because ultimately if you have a bunch of raving fans off the back of your product or service, your experience they’re going to spread your culture that becomes your marketing material. So think about how the culture feels and looks and plays out amongst people.
As an example the classic Amazon story is Jeff Bezos in the early days wanted the lowest price product for the customers.
The way to achieve that was not to have fancy offices and expensive overheads, they would buy doors very low-cost doors attach legs to those and those became computer desk for the employees. That is living your culture, it was phenomenal.
This is why people look at Jeff Bezos now he owns half of America land I believe in the USA.It started with that kind of culture, how do you produce something low-cost for the client? We’ve got to live low-cost; we’ve got to operate low-cost and that’s how the culture starts to spread. That’s an example but something to bear in mind.
I like that because that crosses over into number five, which is how do you want to communicate between yourselves and that is definitely a cultural thing.
I know we talk a lot about Communicating with Impact and what we do, but ultimately is it telephone, phone calls, face-to-face,WhatsApp combination of all those things and how do you want that communication culture to be?
Is it honest and open?
Is its lightly more hidden and you only cover certain agendas?
Be clear on what the line of communication is and say it upfront. You and I from the start when we started doing business together it’s like, okay, just tell me straight what you need me to do and sometimes if you read a message between Harminder and I it might appear to be rude on the outside because it’s a direct message.
But it’s not, it’s just I want this doing, can you do this or I’ll do this, no problem. It’s straight communication, but some people might misunderstand that. So really make sure you understand the personalities of the people within business, the business partners how do they best want to be communicated with.
When I’m doing mentoring or coaching, what we’re doing here there are eight points this could easily constitute a one to two-hour coaching session with somebody starting a business.
But before I start a coaching session the first question I’d asked I think to you guys, when I sat down with B Street is, how do you want me to communicate with you? Do you want me to be gentle? Creative, colourful, do you want me to tell stories, do you want me to do be direct? Can I be brutally honest? I think all of you just said, brutally honest.
But some people don’t feel comfortable with that so that’s another thing as well is make sure if everybody says they want honesty, they can handle the honesty as well.
If you are listening at home and you’re trying to picture a scenario here, this used to happen a lot in the workplace. I used to see employees go crazy around me, you would receive an email and it appears blunt, it appears rude, it appears short, it appears candid and you’re like, how dare they send an email like that to me? How dare she say that to me? All that comes out and then when they phone you or you pick up the phone to them they’re pleasant, they’re so polite and lovely it’s just the way you were communicating within the organisation, or within the partners it just wasn’t clarified in advance.
You can’t read tonality in email.
Be clear on that.
Start the business with a very clear picture, how are we going to deal with conflict resolution?
Are we going to meet on-board meetings when something comes up?
How do we communicate that? Is it an email, text, phone call?
What is our way that we are going to resolve issues that come up and be clear on that and make sure you follow the same procedure on a regular basis as opposed to ad hoc. Sometimes you can do stuff quickly but slightly larger issues need to be resolved in a formal way, so everybody is honest and open about that.
I guess that goes back to number five which is communication. Think of a business as a pressure cooker, there is always going to be stuff that kicks off. There is always going to be an issue with the client, customer, business partner, one of your creditors that you owe money to, or one of your suppliers. That’s just the nature of business.
If you allow the heat to build up in that pressure cooker and you don’t release that, that’s when the pressure really gets to a point where people explode.
How are you going to do that? T
his goes back to issues being resolved, but also comes down to the environment that you develop. So make it something that is open, create an environment where everybody talks in a relaxed way about challenges that they’re facing so that no one person feels they are having to hide something or keep something away from the other business partners, or just being afraid to speak out because that’s when the unconscious pressure builds up and at some point somebody flips. “Oh I didn’t know that was going on, why didn’t you tell me.” And it’s too late now.
I think you do that very well in your business.
We do and if I was to reference somewhere or somebody who almost helped orientate this is a book called ‘High output management’ which I use when I used to manage a team of 35,40 people and extremely difficult to grasp. But meeting your key people, meeting your superstars, or meeting the most important people to you within that particular project, business and including your business partners on a weekly basis.
Having that conversation with them on a weekly basis so you can vent, you can have a download and then you get back to business and get back to work. Otherwise just imagine yourself when you’re frustrated about something and it just lingers and it is just there and it doesn’t go away until you have the conversation with the person.
The earlier you have it less pressure gets released. If you have it at the end it’s almost a catastrophic argument and that’s what we want you to avoid. I think just communicate effectively have a process in place if you want to get logical about it. But agree just don’t let the pressure buildup.
A good book reference there maybe we can get that in the notes afterwards.
Yeah I’ll add that.
The last thing really is just be clear on the company’s business visions and ethics. That goes back to start with what you want from this but remember what you want from this really may be different to what the business is doing.
Ultimately, the business has to create revenue, create customer service and all these things that you’re going to bill but to fit into your vision. Your business has to have a vision, ethics, they need to be written down somewhere so that everyone knows this is who we are, this is what we stand for, this is what we want to deliver to our customers and this is why we are doing it.
Everyone has to bind into that.
Everyone has to align with that and if your employees are not aligned with the company’s ethics and vision and values, or your business partners aren’t then it’s not worth bringing those people into the business because ultimately what happens at some point in the future someone will say, “yeah I didn’t really want to do this one.
I never really felt that was the right way we should go way.” Well why didn’t you say that at the beginning? We are about to steer our car but going in this direction, what you don’t want to do is get 50 miles down the road and have the person that’s sat in the driving seat with you say,“I didn’t really think we should go this way to start with, but I didn’t want to say anything at the start.”
That map if you like is really your ethics, your vision and your values.
If you can get those captured really early if anyone has a challenge with it they can state it early, or if anybody wants to tweak it to make it a lot better, absolutely that still aligns with what we want to do. It’s a great starting point. Again not often done and I think for a lot of people they don’t think it needs to be done, “let’s just go and make money. Let’s get some customers, let’s make some widgets.” And then you put your foot down and you’re 50 miles down the road and you’ve gone the wrong direction.
Yeah and that wrong direction means money spent, money invested, time spent, time away from your family’s, time you could have been doing stuff that you really wanted to do that is just being off course, wrong direction. If you’re in a Tesla Ro you can go quite a long way before you even realise what’s happened.
On that note I think that was a phenomenal, what to consider when choosing the right business partner.
Ro has downloaded eight amazing points there and I will get that up onto the show notes growth.com/podcast. Ro are there any final things we should leave the listeners with because I think it’s been a phenomenal podcast and hopefully we’ve helped people avoid a lot of pain and allow a lot of pleasure from the success of whatever fruitful business partnership they form.Hopefully we’ve had a small part to play in that.
I think that last eight points is great because it gives them a tool to go away with and start to apply. The one thing that wraps around all of this, follow your gut instincts, go with your intuition and that can sometimes be clouded by what we’ve talked about earlier on which is chasing the passion, chasing money, etcetera.
But this is about realigning.
This is why when we do the communications workshop that I run, the intensive three-day intensive seminar when we go through the process with people, one of things we do is to get them to really look inside, become present with themselves so they can connect with the other person. You’ve got to tune into the intuition, if something doesn’t quite feel right, if you’re listening to a guitar and it’s just fractionally out one of the strings you’ll hear it. It’s the same thing here.
Allow the intuition to speak to you and at which point it’s okay to press pause, it’s okay to say can we go away and think about this, or I need to go and reflect. You don’t have to make a decision at that point that will be the only other major thing that we haven’t covered which I think is a nice way to finish off, which is follow your instincts, follow your gut and then apply a process to that as well.
Usually I find that when you do that and you apply the values process that’s when the truth comes out.
That’s amazing, so we’ll wrap up on that note, thank you for listening to another episode of the Seekardo podcast.
As always, everything we put here will be on the show email@example.com/podcast.
That’s myself Ro signing out will see you on the next episode.
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