4 Ways to Create a Truly Equal Business Partnership with Your Cofounder

February 17, 2017

7:00 pm

I would be lying if I said that your relationship with your cofounder will always be easy and amicable. It’s just like any other close relationship you have in your life: there are good moments, and there are times where you are going to disagree. If you and your cofounder won’t listen to each other, owning a business 50/50 simply isn’t possible

It’s inevitable: two passionate, smart and motivated business people are going to get into arguments. However, we always manage to solve the problem, and it keeps our company moving forward. Disagreements are truly a blessing in disguise, as they force a decision to be made. They demonstrate that your company isn’t stagnant. No disagreements generally mean there’s nothing going on, and that’s detrimental for entrepreneurs. Always look at the positives of resolving and moving past an agreement, and you’ll feel a sense of relief and respect for your business partner. Here are some ways that can help you create a truly equal business partnership:

Always Listen

When working with your cofounder, it’s important to make sure that both of you’re respectful and really listening to one and other. You don’t necessarily have to agree, but it’s important to truly empathize and understand why your cofounder feels that way. Once you all have both heard each other out, move forward with the best route for deciding.

However, after thoroughly listening to each other, you may realize that one of you has a better handle on how that client is helping or hurting our company. Get on the same page and make a prompt decision to move forward with an option that we both feel comfortable with.

Respect Strengths and Know Weaknesses

Knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses is key to being a good cofounder. If you know that a disagreement falls into one of your individual areas of expertise, let that person handle the situation and resolve the problem. Be honest with each other and yourself regarding where you excel. It will helps you peacefully and efficiently resolve issues.

Ask a Third Party

When I say ask a third party, I don’t mean one of your mutual friends. The experts you hire to consult you on the daily operations of your business are generally good for this type of role. If it’s a financial decision, bring in your business management team. If it’s about a contract or potential new client, bring in your lawyer.

When you bring in a third party for their opinion on a disagreement, it’s important for you and your business partner to both be on the phone, meeting, or email together while speaking to the third party about the issue. Complete transparency is key, and it’s important that the third party is equally hearing both sides of the argument. Make sure that all the parties involved are playing fair and are working quickly towards resolving a problem.

Keep the Company’s Best Interest at Heart

It’s important that the disagreement doesn’t turn into a situation where both of you are trying to be right. The goal always should be doing what’s in the best interest of the company. If both cofounders keep this in mind, the situation will get resolved in an amicable and impactful way. You need to be supporting the best interest of the company at all times.

This article is courtesy of BusinessCollective, featuring thought leadership content by ambitious young entrepreneurs, executives & small business owners.

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Cassie Petrey is the cofounder of Crowd Surf, a company that provides specialized marketing services to some of the biggest names in music.

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