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Partnerships… Navigating the Ugly, Good, and Bad.

I have had many partnerships over my career. The good can be really good and the ugly can be very ugly.


I had the "ugly" partner that was unethical and ended up with a serious substance abuse problem which left me no choice but to walk away from fantastic businesses that I loved and that we had worked on for several years.


I've had the "good" partnership where a franchisee offered to fully run our company after our son passed away. We ended up being partners and after a few years, they decided they wanted to start their own business. They have built a successful brand and we are now competitors and the best of friends.


I have also become partners with an elephant, Hertz Equipment Rentals, which the Ford Motor Company owned at the time, which was tough because they were just too big which felt like both a bad and good partnership. They ended up making us an offer that we could not refuse to buy us out, so it all worked out really well at the end of the day!


At the end of the day, partnerships can be a great way to combine resources, skills, and expertise to achieve common goals and grow a business. However, not all partnerships are created equal, and it's important to be aware of the potential benefits as well as the drawbacks.


The Ugly Reality:

  • Legal issues: Partnerships can lead to legal disputes if there are disagreements over the terms of the partnership or if one partner breaches their obligations.

  • Personal conflicts: Business partnerships can become strained if there are personal conflicts between partners, which can make it difficult to work together effectively.

  • Dissolution: If the partnership is not working out, it may be necessary to dissolve it, which can be a difficult and costly process.


The Good Reality:

  • Shared resources: When you partner with another business, you have access to a wider range of resources, including employees, equipment, and financial capital.

  • Shared expertise: Partnerships allow you to tap into the expertise of others, which can help you to grow your business more effectively.

  • Shared workload: Partnerships can help to lighten the load by allowing you to share the responsibilities of running a business.


The Bad Reality:

  • Lack of control: When you partner with another business, you may have to give up some control over certain aspects of your business.

  • Conflicting goals: It's important to ensure that you and your partner share the same goals and values, otherwise, the partnership may not work out.

  • Differing work ethics: Partnerships can be challenging when one partner is not putting in the same level of effort or dedication as the other.


In conclusion, Business partnerships can be a great way to grow a business, but it's important to be aware of the potential drawbacks as well. It's essential to make sure that you and your partner share the same goals, values, morals and work ethic, and that you have a clear understanding of the terms of the partnership.


I am fortunate as my wife has been my best partner in life and business. I look forward to many more good partnerships, while I continue to hang on tight to the good ones and just walk away from the ugly ones.

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