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Massage Today
July, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 07

Working Partnerships? It All Depends!

By Perry Isenberg

I receive much e-mail asking about working partnerships, mergers and the like. The most common inquiry comes from small-town owners of massage therapy businesses, thinking about merging with a competitor in their area.

The general thought process is along the lines of, "Let's merge instead of fighting for the same customer -- we will each work less and make the same amount of money!"

There are pros and cons to a partnership, and the only way to decide if it's right for you is to determine your motivation. Once you flush out the reason for considering a partner, it will be easy to see if a partnership meets your needs and goals.

The first step is to decide what benefits are truly associated with the issue at hand. A partnership suggests sharing. For the purpose of this column, I'll suggest the only real meaning of a partnership for business is not to share, but to "join forces to be better off individually than we would be on our own."

Next, define "better off individually." Is it money, self-gratification, personal time, or a little bit of each?

Now you need to identify the single greatest attribute of the partnership. After listing the most obvious pros, I concluded that the only reason to form a working partnership is for the dynamics for growth; that is, one plus one equals three.

I do not believe we should enter into a working partnership to reduce working hours for the same pay, or to share the responsibilities of the day-to-day grunt work. A working partnership is ideal to create the dynamics for growth that will far exceed the potential for individual growth. In theory, the dynamics of a partnership fuels a business beyond the ordinary.

The type of person who belongs in a partnership:

  1. can never be challenged enough;
  2. never stop coming up with business ideas;
  3. always want to offer more products and services;
  4. always develop "over-the-top" promotions; and
  5. get frustrated at his or her inability to dynamically grow the business

Put people with these characteristics together, and you'll get magic -- the type of magic that only a partnership can provide.

On the other hand, those who enter into a partnership merely to work less or pay less rent are destined for failure. If you need to make changes in your personal and business life that requires cutting back, do so. A partnership is not the answer.

Strength and dynamics in numbers are best suited to moving forward, not to cutting back. There are other ways to positively change to meet your needs. So next time you think about or get proposed a partnership, give it a lot of thought and stay focused on your needs and goals. A partnership is for business growth only. If business growth is not something you need, seek other solutions than a partnership.

I'm sure I'll get my share of e-mails on this topic. Tell me what you think, and also let me know any topics you would like me to discuss in future columns. Until next month, be healthy, be good, and stay focused and be motivated.

Click here for previous articles by Perry Isenberg.


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