8 Steps for Building a Successful Internet Business Partnership

Many successful Internet businesses have some kind of partnership which is instrumental in the continued success of the business.

Whether you are currently flying solo or thinking of setting up your own Internet business, at some point you may need or want a business partner to help you expand or take your venture to the next level.

Putting the steps below into practice will go a long way in ensuring that your Internet business stands a greater chance of succeeding and your partnership lasts for the long haul.

1. Seek out the right partner for you and your business aspirations

Finding the right business partner is a much easier task when you have in mind what you want and need from people to make your business a success, and then put yourself in the right place to meet them. For instance you could set up or join a mastermind group or forum which contains other like-minded people which you can meet.

Similarly you could attend conferences where you can meet your prospective business partner(s) face to face. It is a good idea at this early point to know your strengths and then find a partner that can complement your strengths with their own unique strengths. (Discussed further in step 3)

2. Discuss with your prospective partner what each of you wants to achieve and accomplish with the business

Lay your cards on the table early and encourage your prospective Internet business partner to do the same. This will give both parties a clearer picture of the direction that each person wants to steer the Internet business and it will help highlight the motivations of each person behind the business partnership in the first place.

Some questions you could ask are:

  • What do we want to offer to the world with the business?
  • What sort of values do you want to instill in your business? Do they intersect with your partners values?
  • What is each person bringing to the table in terms of motivations for creating the business?
  • Where does each of you see the partnership going in the short/medium/long term?
  • Will the partnership have a shared responsibility in the management of the business or will one person be responsible for managing the troops?
  • How will money and work be divided up?
  • What are the different hats or positions that exist in this business, eg, affiliate income coordinator, VP of customer service, VP of finance.
  • Break up the org charts by roles and strengths first then divide up the roles that no one wants. This exercise alone can be very useful in identifying what can potentially be outsourced.
  • Following from above, the org chart is a perfect place to put all of your outsourcing arrangements such as the names and details of your outsourced personnel.

3. Identify each others strengths and work with them to complement your Internet business

A successful business partnership, especially one that is Internet focused, usually relies on people with different strengths and skill sets working synergistically to achieve a common goal.

At the onset of the partnership, everybody should identify their skills and strengths as well as their prospective partner’s strengths and skills.

In a lot of cases you may be pleasantly surprised to find that the whole will usually be greater than the sum of the parts because of how well the skills and different perspectives complement each other.

It is crucial that in the beginning you play to the strengths of each person and highlight skills which complement each other.

As the Internet business becomes established, there will be a natural accumulation of new knowledge and skills across the partnership which will further enhance the partnership’s synergy.

4. Be very clear about expectations from the beginning

Similar to step 2 but subtly different. In this step you are identifying what you expect from each other as partners regarding the day to day operation of the business.

5. Start with a small project together to test the workability of the partnership

This is akin to the civil engineer building a model bridge to test the stresses and strains before committing large funds and effort to build the big bridge. The same should be done with your Internet business partnership.

Don’t jump into a big complicated or expensive project but start with something small at first such as a webinar or perhaps produce a video series on YouTube together or create and market a small product.

An exercise such as a real-life mini-project can quickly demonstrate whether the partnership will work or whether it needs some tweaking or whether it simply just won’t be tenable at all.

People react differently to things and little annoyances that might be present during a small project can quickly turn into big annoyances when the big projects start. Therefore if you feel that

6. Make things official

This might seem unnecessary if your business partner is a close friend or family member, but irrespective of whether you’ve known the person(s) for 3 months or 20 years, it is still a good idea to get the legalities and official side of your partnership defined clearly from the onset, even if it is a written agreement between yourselves.

For instance you could create a Legal Liability Company (LLC) which can be beneficial to the partnership on many levels such as tax and protection of liabilities for acts and debts of the LLC. (It is recommended that you do your own research about LLCs and other legal matters and seek independent advice from a professional before jumping into anything)

7. Create an Org Chart

In this step you are getting into the nuts and bolts of dividing up the work and tasks.

This step becomes more and more necessary as the business grows or becomes more complex.

This ensures your business is well organized and clearly defines who does what task:

  • What are the different hats or positions that exist in this business, eg, affiliate income coordinator, VP of customer service, VP of finance.
  • Break up the org charts by roles and strengths first then divide up the roles that no one wants. This exercise alone can be very useful in identifying what can potentially be outsourced.
  • Following from above, the org chart is a perfect place to put all of your outsourcing arrangements such as the names and details of your outsourced personnel.

8. Have weekly meetings

This gives everyone the opportunity to catch up and ask questions or clarify any concerns.

Free conference calls can be made using Skype or you could meet in person if possible.

This helps keep things in focus and ensures the direction of the business is maintained.

I’m sure there are successful Internet business partnerships out there who may not employ all of the suggestions above but the fact is if YOU follow most or all of these steps then you will at least maximize the chances of YOUR partnership succeeding.

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