The idea of forming a successful business partnership is the kind of forwarding thinking needed in today’s overwhelming business pool. Establishing a business partnership means that two or more businesses, specializing in sometimes diverse yet complementary skill sets, integrate their services to create an excellent product. Potentially, this can lead to higher customer satisfaction and rapid growth for the new merger. The success of the partnership depends on how the parties involved communicate with one another. However, there is an unfortunate occurrence that happens in many business partnerships: one or more parties are dishonest with their intentions for the merging. We will call them Snakes in the Water.
A snake in the Wate business partner can exhibit their unethical methods in several ways, including pouching clients, embezzlement, laziness, or defamation of character. These people can be charismatic, calm, collected, and fiercely charming, but when one least expects it, they will turn on the partnership and potentially leave their partner worse off than before they entered the merger.
Here are a few ways to spot a snake in the water business partner before you make the mistake of entering into a destructive partnership with them.
1. Notice how they treat the server.
This rule applies to romantic dating as well. If you notice a potential business partner is belittling or becoming aggressive with the wait staff, take a step back. Someone who does not display grace or proper etiquette will likely one day, display the same dishonorable disposition towards you or your client. The business world is cut-throat, but manners and courtesy are still relevant. As for being unpleasant to servers, there is another saying that comes to mind, “Do not mess with the people who handle your food.”
2. Previously Failed Partnerships
If a potential business partner’s back story is littered with horror stories of failed partnerships, there are a few possibilities; they needed this article decades ago, they are challenging to work with, or they might be up to no good. Either way, be careful if failed business partnerships are a significant part of their past.
3. They never take responsibility.
Perfection is a myth. No one is faultless, but when someone assures that “Perfect” is their middle name, you should take a step back. A successful business merging is similar to agreeing to house train a new puppy. The puppy must go outside to potty every so often so that it learns not to relieve themselves on the carpet. However, if someone is not taking the puppy out on their shift, the puppy may go potty inside, ruining the carpet and possibly regressing the puppy’s development. If the other puppy parent brings up the accident to the puppy parent slacking on house training responsibilities, then the slacker would typically apologize or explain why they did not fulfill their end of the agreement. The thing to watch for is if the slacker says it is not their fault. This passing off of responsibility means they refuse to own up to the duties they agreed to. Whether or not you are house training a puppy or attempting to run successful businesses, mistakes are bound to occur. Taking responsibility for one’s error can help develop solutions that will create improvements and success for the company or the puppy’s house training.
4. They want what they want now.
Most businesses operate alongside the modern ages fast-paced society, but when a potential business partner delivers a proposal and immediately asks you to sign the dotted line, take a breather. Entering quickly into a business partnership can lead to disastrous results. It is essential to be diligent and thorough in all the business decisions you put your name on. Even though time is always of the essence, taking a week or two to read over a contract along with your lawyer and accountant, can protect you from forming a lousy business partnership that you may regret in years to come.
5. They are always the victim
One of the most serious adopted tactics of a snake in the water is playing the victim. These people are consistently expressing how so-and-so wronged them or how they were not aware of the rules when they broke one. They also tend to feel threatened by other victims. They may try to one-up another person’s tragedy by letting everyone know how much worse they had it. If your potential business partner has a Ceaser-like event for every happening in their life, remember, you may be the next person they paint as an aggressor to another business professional or client.
Remember, business partnerships exist to make things easier for both parties, not just one. If you notice any of these above behaviors, tread lightly in the water because you may be in the presence of a snake in the water business partner.