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A Post By My Friend: Eula M. Guest

eula-m-guest

WRONG SIDE OF PARTNERSHIP

Have you ever gone to a networking event, a business conference, or a lecture and said to yourself, “I would love to form a partnership with that person.”  You heard them speak, present, read an article about themselves and said to yourself, “We can do some great things together to build our brands.”  You are not alone.  I have met people that impressed me with their image, their branding and didn’t take the opportunity to research them.  I liked what I heard, I was enticed by that image they showed to the world, that mask that was so appealing.  I hung on their every word thinking I can build my brand on what they have (or better yet) what I thought they had, what looked like they had it all together. I was hooked, and my mind went racing.  How can I work with these professional, awesome business owners?  How can I drink from their cup of success?  How can I make that money?

            My partner and I have formed many relationships over the nine years that we’ve been running our business.  We have flown to London, Virginia, Philadelphia, Maryland and met many different business owners in our travels.  One thing for sure as we traveled and met many accomplished business owners from different fields is how we research and ask about the folks we want to do partnerships with or who want to do partnerships with us.  It is not enough to just want to partner for the sake of partnering.  We’ve discovered that some people who want to partner do not have it all together.  As a matter of fact, some people are faking the funk.  They are not professional nor organized, and some are just not a good fit for our brand.  It took some disappointments with some of our partnerships to find out the hard way; and as we all know, those are the best lessons and not just if you want to do an event.  It is for belonging to business groups, chambers, networking groups, masterminds, etc.  DO YOUR HOMEWORK!  Before you enter into any kind of verbal or contract agreement, this can help save you time, money, and disappointment.  Here are some things to look out for when thinking about partnering.  Questions you should ask yourself:

  • Is this a good fit?  Why are you doing it?  Don’t let flattery cloud your judgment.

  • Do they bring something to the table?  Looks can be deceiving.  Do they really have those connections that you want and need? Are they really going to connect you to their connections?

  • Do your homework.  If they have a social media page, research and see if you have people that you both know so you can call and ask specific questions about their work ethics, promptness, quality, standards, and making good on their promise.

  • Even the best laid plans of mice and men can land you into many problems.  If you enter into a contract and they don’t fulfill their obligations, what do you plan to do and what can you live with?  Be prepared that you may have to go to court and/or walk away from the project.

  • How committed are they to the project?  Just because you are 100% invested in this project doesn’t mean that they are.  How committed are they in fulfilling their obligations?

  • Are you both getting equal share of the end results?  Are you both equally sharing in the planning, progressions, and execution of an event?  Do all parties involve understand their respective roles?

  • Have a task list outlined.  Who is expected to do what task.  Maybe they partner with you to get their name exposed but are not doing any of the work to promote, advertise and build up the event.

  • How do you know they are actually sending out e-mails and or promoting the event?

  • Enter at your own risk.  When all is said and done were you satisfied with the overall execution of the event?  Did your partners live up to what you expected and then some, or were you left holding the bag?  Would you ever do business with them again under any circumstances?  This is something that you will have to decide after the event is over.

  • Go into this thinking that you are going to learn something valuable to take into future partnerships. If you had bad experiences, don’t let it stop you from entering into other partnerships.  Now you know better; and when you know better, you do better.  Next time you will know what to look out for, what questions to ask, and if your gut is telling you that you don’t think this is going to work, then walk away.  It’s better sometimes to be safe than sorry.

Ms. Guest is Chief Operating Officer at Griot’s Roll Film Production & Services Inc. She is the social media supervisor at Griot’s Roll Film Production & Services Inc. For interviews, panel discussions, speaking engagements, workshops contact Griot’s Roll at (212) 281-2286 or eula@griotsrollproduction.com for more details and workshop titles.

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