Our last Ramos Law Business Blog focused on the relationships between employer and employee. Let’s look at the relationship at the very top of businesses owned by multiple people… Partnerships.
It is often said, somewhat tongue and cheek that a business partnership is like a marriage. It’s not LIKE a marriage, it IS a marriage! Business partners are legally bound to one another with respective and collateral duties and responsibilities matched with serious, life-changing consequences if they don’t function as intended. Indeed, the impact of a partnership breakup can be far more widespread than that of a divorce. It is a relationship that needs constant attention and nurturing.
A marriage is between two people. Decision making between couples is tough enough. A partnership can have an unlimited number of partners, compounding decision making challenges exponentially and making them far more complex than a marriage. It’s marriage on steroids.
That’s why It is so critical to regularly check in with your partners. The partnership relationship must be treated as a “sacred relationship”- where constant nurturing and effective communication is the norm if the relationship is to stay strong. Partners, listen closely to this next point…stay connected personally!! A partnership is not “just business.” It’s personal, very personal because all decisions in the business directly impact the personal lives and families of each partner. And the reverse is also true – the personal lives and families of each partner impact the business because personal family dynamics play a critical role, if not a primary driver of each partner’s business decisions.
Personality traits, management styles, commitment levels, personal and family issues, skill levels, performance expectations, business strategy, varying approaches to problem-solving and conflict resolution, and communication styles can all vary wildly among partners. And they must all be balanced and reconciled every day in order to maintain a smooth and profitable operation. Career and life goals can and do change over time, and even religious beliefs and political viewpoints can seep into the workplace with profound effects.
Just as marriages often require third party counseling, so do partnerships. To be sure your partnership remains healthy, get occasional guidance in the form of third-party counseling to ensure it continues to function optimally, especially in the presence of changing roles and circumstances. A qualified partnership “Coach” can help guide partners in a host of documents such as Roles and Responsibilities, Exit Strategies, Governing Documents and more. They can and should be considered as the best friend of both the partners and the business. The most effective counselor in this regard is an attorney who understands the intricacies of partnerships and the variables that surround them.
If you have any questions on the specifics of partnerships, reach out to David Silverman, lead attorney for the Small Business division of Ramos Law. David can be reached directly at 720-536-4384 or firstname.lastname@example.org.