Recently, I bumped into a promising young businesswoman that I admired. Before I could ask her how things were going at her art gallery, she handed me her newly designed business card -- minus her partner's name.
"That didn't work out," she said flatly.
I didn't need the details; in the end, she launched a business with the wrong partner. I have been in a similar situation, and here are some lessons I've learned from that ordeal.
Five business partners to avoid in 2013:
1. The Wrong Hire
Sometimes the boulder in the way of success isn't a partner, but someone you've hired to perform a key function. If you get the feeling that you only get your contractor's full attention when their retainer is due, it may be time to go your separate ways.
2. The Lazy One
Ms. Lazy slides her stilettos under your table of great ideas, and contributes nothing, or, perhaps, she'll contribute just enough to window dress. Meanwhile, all the heavy lifting is left up to you: If you don't do it, it won't get done. If you ask for it, she'll get it to you at her leisure as opposed to when it's needed. In the end, she expects you to produce a miracle and will boldly ask: "Any updates? What's going on? What's next?"
3. The Selfish One
Some entrepreneurs just aren't wired to think in a group dynamic. Most entrepreneurs are wired to 'do it themselves' and to do it for themselves, and thus incorporating the ideas of others -- or sharing ideas with others -- just isn't a priority for them.
Once I was with a partner at a social event and I was too shy to approach a businessman, a connection that we sorely needed. I asked my partner to make the introduction for us. Moments later, she strolled over to introduce herself for herself.
When she asked, "Any updates? What's going on? What's next?" mum was the word; the trust was long gone.
4. The Saboteur
This partner will ride your coattails on the front end and derail your success on the back end. After a plan is set in motion, he just won't show up or produce. He'll only resurface when there's something that he wants you to do for him, and or, if you are getting closer to obtaining something he wants.
The Saboteur will slip back into your circle when it's beneficial for him: "Any updates? What's going on? What's next?"
5. The Time Thief
This partner has needs or habits that steal precious time, and block the organization from getting closer to its overall goal. Unfortunately, your partner doesn't realize he's stealing time, and you won't realize time has been wasted until several months later, when you must ask yourselves: "Any updates? What's going on? What's next?"
Great ideas and hard work will yield nothing if you don't have the right team.
The good news is that there's no time like the present to make a change, so do what you must to make it work.
Here's to a successful 2013!