A Guide to Mastering Successful Business Relationships by@alexandervolchek
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A Guide to Mastering Successful Business Relationships

by Alexander VolchekJune 28th, 2023
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Entrepreneurship is an exciting journey, often made more rewarding and less lonely with a business partner. However, the dynamics of a partnership can often pose complex questions. These questions, if not addressed promptly and efficiently, can lead to conflicts and even causing the downfall of the entire venture.
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Entrepreneurship is an exciting journey, often made more rewarding and less lonely with a business partner. However, the dynamics of a partnership can often pose complex questions:

  • Who contributes more effort?
  • Who earns a higher share?
  • How should profits be apportioned?
  • How much downtime is necessary?
  • Which employees should be hired?
  • How should salaries be distributed?
  • What type of clients should be targeted?
  • Is business expansion desirable?

These questions, if not addressed promptly and efficiently, can become significant hurdles, leading to conflicts and even causing the downfall of the entire venture.

Understanding the Root of Conflicts

Conflicts often arise due to the innate diversity in human nature. When two people come together to run a business, they share the risks, responsibilities, and rewards. Yet, their individual goals might differ. For example, one partner might be driven by financial prosperity, while the other seeks more personal freedom. One dreams of nurturing a lifelong business, while the other may be geared towards prepping the company for an immediate sale.

Divergent beliefs can also trigger conflicts. Some entrepreneurs perceive business as an all-consuming endeavor, requiring their full-time attention and effort, to the extent of ignoring personal and family life. Others might believe their role is limited to conceptualizing the initial idea, investing capital, and then retreating from active involvement.

Neither perspective is inherently wrong. Everyone has the right to desire and believe in what they consider important. However, failure to communicate these crucial points from the outset can lead to inevitable issues.

  1. Precisely Outline Rules before Initiating the Business Venture

Before stepping into the entrepreneurial world, take the time to discuss and draft a comprehensive partnership agreement. If you're already running a business without an agreement, it's never too late to create one. This crucial document should cover all significant aspects: business strategy, marketing, sales, employee management, profit distribution, business expansion, and even contingencies like the death or departure of a partner.

  1. Adopt the Mindset that There Are No Dead-Ends

Sometimes, partners might hold completely opposite views on an issue that's difficult to legislate. It's crucial to establish a method for resolution in such instances. For example, my business partner and I decided, "If after multiple rounds of discussion, we can't reach an agreement, we'll flip a coin". There's always a path forward.

  1. Define Roles and Responsibilities from the Outset

It's vital to establish who will take responsibility for what aspect of the business. You may choose to adopt a hands-off approach, leaving daily operations to an external CEO. Alternatively, one partner could focus on management and sales, while the other looks after customer acquisition and product development. Clearly defining roles helps maintain order and minimize disputes.

  1. Refrain from Building Unwarranted Expectations of Your Partner

Managing expectations can be tricky, but unfulfilled expectations are a major source of conflict. Misunderstandings about roles and contributions often lead to resentment: dissatisfaction with marketing strategies, sales outcomes, or product quality.

To avoid these issues, engage in candid discussions about your respective strengths and weaknesses at the very beginning. If you've explicitly agreed on roles and one partner fails to fulfill their obligations, that's an error on their part that needs to be addressed. However, if you've simply assumed that your partner will undertake certain tasks without a formal agreement, the fault lies with you.

  1. Maintain Loyalty to Your Agreement

When starting a business, a partner's value is often defined by their expertise. Over time, however, this can change. An expert may lose their edge, or a novice may transform into a seasoned professional. Personal life events, economic upheavals, or changing market dynamics can all affect performance. Yet, whatever the circumstances, the original terms of your agreement should be upheld until a new consensus is agreed upon.

  1. Uphold Honesty and Transparency in Your Relationship

Trust and honesty are the bedrock of any successful partnership. As you and your partner embark on this shared journey, it's vital to foster good relations. Strive to be kind, decent, and honest with each other. A strong foundation of trust and mutual respect will not only promote a healthy business relationship but also contribute to the overall success of your venture.

How much interesting life has been lived due to ignorance, and how much could have been avoided if one knew.


Navigating a business partnership can be challenging, yet immensely rewarding. It's a collaborative endeavor that goes beyond mere profit sharing and touches various aspects of entrepreneurship. It requires mindful effort, clear communication, and unwavering commitment.

But remember, a partnership is not confined to business owners only; the concept extends to all professional relationships. Your employees, employers, and colleagues are also your partners, in the sense that they contribute to the shared goals of your organization. The principles of a successful business partnership also apply to these relationships.

To foster successful partnerships, either in entrepreneurship or employment, follow these explicit steps:

  1. Define the Agreement: Clear and comprehensive documentation of all the aspects of the partnership is critical. It serves as a reference point and a guide for all business decisions and discussions.

  2. Have a Conflict Resolution Mechanism: Ensure that you have a system in place for settling disagreements. Remember, there are no unsolvable problems, and every dispute can be settled with open-mindedness and flexibility.

  3. Assign Clear Roles and Responsibilities: Distribute responsibilities based on each partner's strengths and expertise. Clearly defining roles from the onset helps avoid future conflicts and misunderstandings.

  4. Manage Expectations: Always articulate your expectations to your partner, rather than assuming they understand. Assumptions often lead to disappointment and can damage the relationship.

  5. Stick to the Agreement: Regardless of how circumstances change, it's important to honor the original agreement. Changes should be made only after mutual consent.

  6. Be Honest and Transparent: Open, honest communication is vital to building trust and respect in any relationship, especially in a business partnership. Keep the lines of communication open to avoid confusion or ill feelings.

In conclusion, building a successful partnership - be it in business or with your employees - is about communication, clarity, and a shared vision. When these elements are in place, partnerships can not only survive but also thrive, driving your venture to new heights of success.