In the past year I have found myself talking about partnership an awful lot. As one partnership crashed and burned this week and several other began, here is some advice I have learned.
Understand your value
When you are starting out I don’t care how much you think you know, you don’t know as much as someone with 10 years of experience on you. If you don’t have all of the credentials and no experience it really doesn’t matter what you think your time is worth, it matters what your clients think your time is worth. As a consultant, you are paid for knowledge and when you are just starting out you can’t charge a premium.
Burnt bridges are never good
Even in terrible partnerships the rule of life should be the rule of business. You never know who that person knows or is connected to, so being rude and unprofessional is more likely to hurt you in the long run than the other person. When a partnership ends, even when it ends badly it is like a marriage breaking up. You have to say your mea culpa’s and give it some time to time to heal.
Attitude is not assertion
There is a big difference between attitude and being assertive. When you are saying what you mean in a non-confrontational way that is assertive. When you are talking about things that have nothing to do with the situation at hand, that is attitude. When someone can’t ask you details or can’t ask you to explain without your rudely responding or being defensive, you are not assertive you are rude. Good luck with that in business.
Business is a lot like life in that it doesn’t come with instructions but one decision can definitively change everything. The biggest thing that you learn in business is how relationships make up so much of the business world and as the old adage says ‘don’t step on anyone’s toes, because you never know if they are connected to an ass that you have to kiss”.