BUSINESS PARTNERS AGREE TO MEET, BUT WHAT SHOULD THEY TALK ABOUT?

By Dorene Lehavi

If you read my article Why Business Partners Don’t Like Meetings and the consequences for not meeting regularly, the question arises, what should be discussed at the meetings.  Today’s article answers that question to make meetings worthwhile, interesting and inspiring, where important things get accomplished.  If done well each partner stays knowledgeable about the whole business.

ThreeCategoriesOfMeetingsThere are 3 different categories of meetings. The agenda depends on where you are in your partnership and the state of the business.  

1. Set the foundation of how your business is to look. If you are just starting hopefully you have the Business Partnership Agreement Template that I wrote in front of you and are using it as a guide to your conversations and decision making.  Unlike boiler plate lawyer written agreements that are written with breakup in mind, the Business Partnership Agreement Template is written to be uniquely personal to affirm a trusting relationship and structured for long term success with a win/win exit strategy.  

You will need a few meetings to complete all the areas in the Agreement. When you are through you will have created a picture and a plan of the way you want your business to look for the long term and as a bonus, you will have practiced communicating with your partner and now know each other well.

Follow the Partnership Agreement with my What Ifs Scenario Handbook preparing for the unexpected.  This is a good time to do it rather than to wait for the crisis and have to make decisions in an atmosphere of strong emotions.

Make sure that you revisit your Agreement and your What If decisions at least annually to make changes that keep up with your evolving  business and changing times.

2. Every 6 months or yearly meeting to evaluate what you have achieved in relationship to goals, setting new ones, and discussing issues that need new decisions. This meeting should also focus on making modifications or changes to your Partnership Agreement if needed.

3. These are weekly meetings to discuss day to day and month to month running of the business.

Decide upon the frequency which you discuss each topic and create clear agendas.   Schedule extra meetings if needed. Conduct the meetings with respect for each other’s time. Keep an open mind by listening well, clarifying what has been said and giving serious consideration to other points of view than your own.

Following is a list of topics for discussion at your regular meetings. Not everything on this list will apply to your business and there may be some things such as industry specifics, that are not here, so add them.

  • Finances:  Cash flow
  • Operations:  Staff
  • Compliance issues
  • Sales and marketing
  • Products – Design
  • Employee issues/ Team building
  • Target of ideal customers and competitors
  • Community relations/philanthropy
  • Do a SWOT analysis and use it to plan
  • Personal issues between you
  • Changes in attitude towards the business.  Do you both (all) still love it?
  • Deal with the unexpected scenarios

I’m sure you can see that each one of these categories is crucial to the overall high functioning of your business.  Why would you ignore discussing them? If one of you or someone else on your team is in charge of any of these areas, you, as an owner still must know what’s going on and be involved in the decision making at some level. Don’t be the partnership shocked to find their best client is gone. Don’t find out that you have been overpaying a supplier because someone didn’t do due diligence in their search for a source. Don’t have your lack of meetings with managers and teams result in breakdowns, lack of efficiency and coordination between your design, sales and marketing groups.

If you want your business to function at its highest level as a well-oiled machine, don’t be in the dark about any aspect.  This is not micro-managing.  This is smart being in the know about the big picture.

Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below.

For more information on creating successful business and joint venture partnerships visit www.bizpartnerpro.com and sign up for a Free Report and further tips.

Dr. Lehavi’s mission is to reverse the statistic that most partnerships fail to most succeed.  She is the creator of unique success oriented DIY tools such as the popular Business Partnership and Joint Venture Agreement Templates.  Dorene Lehavi, Ph.D., transitioned her practice as a therapist to coaching, where she has over 20 years of experience as the recognized expert in business partnership relationships.  She earned her doctorate at University of Southern California and MSW at Hunter College, NYC.

About Gary M. Jordan Ph.D.

Gary M. Jordan, Ph.D. is a premier authority on behavioral theories and assessment construction. He has over 32 years of experience in clinical psychology, behavioral assessment, individual development, and coaching. Gary earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology – Berkeley, and spent 18 years in private practice where he specialized in helping angry adolescents, couples in conflict, and individuals searching for more meaning and satisfaction in life.
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