Someone sent a message to my inbox yesterday asking if it’s good to go into partnerships with friends and build a business. I felt I should give my views publicly and the answer is yes, BUT…
One thing we have to understand is that there is power in unity. When people come together, they can do almost everything they fail to do on their own. When people come together it means they have brought resources, skills and energy together and at the same, they will absorb and share losses as one.
The problem with partnerships that we do is that they are formed prematurely. We go into partnerships without any legal backing and without setting a clear agenda of what you want to do, how you want to do it and what happens when you either fail or make it.
Better partnerships are set on clear and similar values. Don’t get into partnerships with people who do not value you or what you can do together. If your partner feels too superior at the start, walk off such an agreement and seek a partner(s) who will value you and share similar values. A partnership is like mariage. Achewa timati “awili sayenda limodzi asanapangane.” You need to know people before getting cozy with them.
On top of values, it is good to set clear expectations from the start. Everyone needs to know what is expected of them and how much or what exactly they are putting into a partnership. At this point, it is also important to know what type of partnership you will have in terms of business registration.
Then there is the hardest part, finances. Clearly set out who will manage finances, how much each one will bring in and how you will share profits when you make. Are you going to be on salary or you will keep reinvesting? Those are the things to consider and above all, how you will disband when you reach your investment and decide to part ways.
Lastly, have a lawyer draw up your legal partnership. This is the most important aspect. Unfortunately, most people miss this and decide just to get into partnerships without having legal backing to protect both partners. Even in marriage, you need a certificate to certify your union, what more of a business agreement?
But partnerships are very good. I am actually looking for suitable partners myself. You can have K10 million and if you are the only one with it, it remains K10 million but if 10 people have it and come together, it becomes K100 million and offers you a possibility of doing something bigger.
Bonus point: Don’t go into business partnerships with your relatives. And, do not team up with people who are impatient, depending on the same business to survive.