Entering into a joint venture agreement can be really exciting. You get to leverage the expertise, reach, and ideas of a partner you respect. Combined, you and your JV partner can achieve incredible things you simply wouldn’t have been able to achieve on your own.
The trouble comes when you don’t choose the right person or business to work with. Sometimes, it’s easy to figure out when a partnership won’t work. You might clash right away, not be able to come to an agreement, etc. That doesn’t always happen, though.
It’s easy to get starry-eyed when it comes to working with others, especially if you’ve admired them from afar for a while or even been friends for a while. It’s important not to let that happen, though. Not everyone will be a good fit.
Things That Can Go Wrong in a JV Partnership
There are so many things that can go wrong in a JV partnership. For one thing, you might not both be on the same page. You might expect that you’re going to do equal work, only to find that the other person falls down on the job.
It gets even more complicated when the other person thinks they are doing equal work… but you disagree with that. Or when they think that what they bring to the table is more important than what you bring to the table.
There are legal things that can go wrong as well. You really have to protect yourself or a number of nightmares might find their way to you.
Things might start off well but quickly fall apart. The other party might have other partnerships going on or lose interest, leaving you holding the bag.
Or, you might start to annoy each other. That can happen with any relationship, and the JV relationship might grow contentious in particular because it’s business and money is at stake.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what can go wrong. You have to have the right expectations and make sure you’re choosing to work with the right people. Be prepared, protect yourself, go with your gut, know when to cut your losses, and know when you’re the problem.
Things That Can Go Right in a JV Partnership
I don’t mean to be completely negative, especially since there are so many things that can go right.
You’ll be able to leverage the assets of your partner. You’ll get to take advantage of their list, contacts, smarts, ideas, etc.
You’ll have accountability so you can move your business forward. It’s hard to get a lot done or grow your business much if you’re truly working in isolation.
You will be able to bounce ideas off of each other and create something that’s so much better than either of you would have been able to create on your own.
There’s a reason you’re excited about the possibilities that can come from a JV partnership. Listen to your gut—this could be an incredible move for your business. Be smart about who you work with. Be protective of yourself and your business—it’s worth it. Don’t work with just anyone… but don’t be scared of working with the right person or business.
What You Should Look For in a JV Partner
You’ll have your own set of criteria, but here’s what I tend to look for.
The JV partner needs to have something unique they can bring to the table. When your skills, talents, and vision combine, the result should be something extraordinary.
If the skillset that you’re looking for is relatively common, consider that perhaps you should just outsource instead of bringing in a full partner into your business or into your project. It might work out better that way.
The partner needs to be hard working. I don’t want to do all the work on my own or feel like I’m always bugging the other person to do their share.
It’s important to be on the same page as far as goals and deadlines. It’s important that the person have a great mindset and want to grow their business.
It’s ideal that personalities match up well. It’s not good to have to deal with bickering and disagreements that get in the way of hard work.
What do you look for? Think about what’s important to you and your business. Protect yourself with legal agreements, frequent check-ins, and whatever you need.
How to Be a Great JV Partner
It’s also important to think about yourself as a JV partner. What do you bring to the table? Do you communicate well? Are you open to the ideas of others?
You don’t want to be the partner that falls down on the job or is frustrating to others. Do your part. Do your work. Be creative, innovative, and hard working.
If you’re having trouble in a JV partnership, it might be time to stop and think about where the trouble is coming from. Are you contributing to it or causing it? Be honest with yourself.
You have to be a team player as a JV partner. You can’t just do things your way all the time. Be open and honest about what you need and expect from the partnership and allow your partner to do that with you.
Don’t take things so personally—this is business. Work hard, come up with great ideas, and bounce ideas off of one another. Don’t be too precious with your ideas or the things you come up with. Sometimes, you might be really excited about something only to find that your partner is not. That’s okay—and most of the time the result is far better than you could have imagined.
How to Enter Into a JV Relationship the Right Way
Take your time entering into a partnership. Listen to your gut when thinking about who you should work with. Don’t work with just anyone; make sure you have a really clear vision about what you want to come from the partnership.
Be a great JV partner and expect the same of the partner you work with. Have open lines of communication, work toward a common goal, and combine your assets and talents into something more wonderful, profitable, and growth inspiring than you could have ever achieved on your own.