A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.
Sometime its so easy to just say yes. All these really cool people or organizations you really like and admire want to work with YOU. Yes YOU.
They have seen your work and know its top notch. They like your vibe, your voice and your vision. It feels good to be picked “first “on the playground.
*Insert stereotypical teen girl like scream here.*
Sometime we may not be paying as close of attention as we should be when the big question finally comes… you know maybe you were chatting or emailing while on a conference call or IM’ing someone else. Next thing you know you have “volunteered” to bake 300 cupcakes for the bake sale. The one happening tomorrow.
Being in partnership means being mindful. Understanding exactly what you are signing up for and committing to. It means having difficult conversations about money, property and time. It means listening. It means owning your business and stepping into your power.
We have all seen one sided partnerships. They are never healthy, productive nor worth the time and energy invested in them. They also can destroy your reputation in a heart beat.
Sigh….sounds much like dating in high school. You remember that person you dated in high school- the one that when it was all over left you tired, worn out and just a little bit bloodied. Yeah.. I dated him too.
So how do you avoid making the same mistakes I did?
Question, Question, Question.
Questions to ask before you say yes
- Why do you want to enter this partnership?
- Are you looking to increase your income, build your audience, gain exposure or position your business for growth in the future? A partnership home run would include all of these elements
- Who are your customers? What do they need? Will this partnership help them?
- Be clear about where you fit into the market and specific about who your target market is. Have your customers asked for this type of product? What will make this different from other products like it on the market?
- How does this project/partnership fit into your current body of work and future business goals?
- Be clear about your goals and values? What values do you share with your potential partner? Be honest- Is this a true strategic fit?
- How much time and money will this partnership require?
- Clearly define how much time and money will need to be invested in the project before and after launch? Discuss any outside business activities that could impact this partnership.
- What are your key personal values that must be respected in this partnership
- What are your non-negotiables for this partnership? Are you looking to learn new skills? How do you like to receive and give feedback?
- Do you have the tools/systems in place to support this partnership?
- What do you need to track? How many seats do you need to fill? What systems will you use? How and when will you share customer information?
- Who will own the assets including intellectual property at the conclusion of the partnership?
- What will become the “property” of the partnership and what content will be kept separate. Will you create all new content for the partnership? Discuss what type of legal agreements will be needed.
Learning to ask the hard questions up front can help keep you out of sticky situations in the long term. Sometime yes is the correct answer. Sometime the correct answer is no and other times the correct answer is Hell no!
Pythagoras once said the oldest, shortest words – “yes” and “no” – are those which require the most thought.
Asking the right questions is critical …give it the thought, time and consideration it deserves before you answer. The most well placed “no” can make a “yes” all the sweeter.