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I’ve launched or at least planned a couple of failed ventures over the past couple of years. They weren’t bad ideas. In fact, one of them still sits and lingers as something that I might revisit. But one of the real struggles that I found was the partnerships that I built during that time period. They weren’t bad people. Quite the opposite. They were amazing people with outstanding work ethics, incredible skill sets and remarkable personalities. But it didn’t work. I’ve written piece after piece on why those projects didn’t work and I’m not here to revisit those articles but rather to talk about the way that I’ve decided to go about partnerships moving forward. I’ve always started with the project I wanted to build and then sought out partners to work with me on it. No more. From now on, it’s people first.

What exactly do I mean? It’s simple. I’m done with trying to look for people that fit the project I have in mind. Going forward, I will find people that I want to work with and find a project to work on them with. Let me give you an example. Now, names and exact details have been changed because we’re in the beginning stages, but there’s someone that I’ve admired for a long time. They have great ideas, they state them clearly and effectively and they are an exceptional person. So I decided that I wanted to work on something with them. I told them that I wanted to work on something with them but we decided not to go into any specific details. We knew we wanted to work on something together. That was all we needed.

From there we simply waited until an opportunity presented itself and when it did, we started plugging away on what that project would look like. We worked out some responsibilities and decided on some next steps which we continue to pursue as we look at building this project. It’s about people.

Sometimes you have the idea in place first. Sometimes you need to find a partner that matches the project that you already have in your mind. So how do you reconcile that with the advice that I’ve provided? It’s simple. Start now by surrounding yourself with people you’d want to work with. Understand the skills and abilities of your network. Realize the potential advantages and disadvantages of every person you could potentially work with. There are some great people that I know, outstanding people, that I could never in a million years work with. While they may have a skill set that fits my project perfectly, I do believe that a great deal of what makes a good partnership is the “intangibles”. It’s a lot like a marriage. It’s not necessarily the most rational, most perfectly matched pair. It’s about building a team that works.

Til death or exit strategy do you part.

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