“I’m putting a new program together on content creation that will be the first step in changing my business direction. Another business owner approached me and suggested a partnership. I would do the content development and she would do the design and publishing, as well as our program promotion. We each have our own business but would partner with this program.
“The question is, how do we divide the revenue? She’s saying she should get 60% because she’s doing the sales and getting the money. I’m doing a lot of day to day work, including client consultations and webinars included in our program. I’d be happier with 50-50 as a split.
“Does this issue mean our partnership is doomed? We have a good synergy here.”
When you’re pivoting to a new market with a new program, it’s easy to feel as though you don’t have enough experience, skill or time. A partner can seem like a real gift, especially if she can compensate for your weaknesses and reinforce your strengths.
It’s especially tempting to find a partner who promises to promote the product, especially if she seems confident of her skills. Yet handing over your marketing to a partner can risk your business, your brand and your reputation. You need to be able to say, “This doesn’t feel right.”
In many ways, a partnership is like a marriage. So why not do some dating first? Develop a program and set up a joint venture. Create a referral program where you each get 50% of the proceeds when you refer someone. See if you like the way she works with your clients and see how well you work with her clients. ‘
Some things to consider:
(1) Do you serve the same niche?
Clients for writing/editing most likely differ from clients for design and publishing. You gain some clients with a bundled offer but lose other clients who want one service only – not both.
(2) Could an environmental change affect the partnership?
Long-term contracts – let alone partnerships – can be hazardous in an online marketing environment. Suppose you had partnered with an article marketing specialist three years ago. Some article marketers wisely decided to pivot. Their partners might find the new direction even more synergistic or completely inappropriate.
(3) Are you choosing the best resources for your own business?
Kimberly, a first-time book author, chose a marketing partner “because she used to work for IBM in their promotion department.” Kimberly spent over $10,000 on building a website and designing a book cover. The book wasn’t selling. I had lots of suggestions but her budget was exhausted.
Kimberly would now be a successful author, with a calendar of speaking engagements, if she had talked to a copywriter or marketing strategist who could introduce her to the world of book publishing (which is completely different from the corporate world) and who would understand the unique challenges of solo-preneurs.
In fact, successful authors often talk to a copywriter before they hire an editor, just as successful business owners hire a copywriter before they start to choose colors and have fun with design. Copywriters can move quickly from concept to value proposition so you make the connection before you’ve made an investment.
Time to walk away from the partnership. Once you start looking around, you’ll find lots of great resources for design and self-publishing. You can work with them on an as-needed basis and who knows? They may be able to send you referrals from a wider source.
If you’d like to plan a profitable business pivot, start by telling these 3 stories.