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Partnering With Intelligence
By: Victoria L. Rayner
Posted: June 9, 2008, from the December 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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A person could have excellent skills and business acumen, and still not have enough of “the right stuff” to make a great colleague. Professionals who are considering entering into this type of relationship must have similar ways of believing and being so that they can join forces. The secret to collaboration is this synergy that inspires a deep spirit of cooperation. It provides each of the associates with the opportunity to apply their personal and professional attributes while combining their capabilities in such a way that enables them to develop something far greater than the sum of their own single efforts.
In reality, what makes a synergetic partnership work is no different than what makes any relationship function well: It is a combination of compatibility and unwavering dedication to a central interest. In order for a work-based collaboration to be significant, each person involved must recognize that they are connected to the other through the business partnership. Once this truth has been acknowledged, the affiliation can serve as a platform and not just another backbreaking aspect of work life to which the two professionals are obligated. Even if you have taken the correct steps in choosing a partner, conflict is sure to arise. See Additional Challenges for more frequently encountered partnership issues.
Customizing partnership agreements
One of the first official acts in which associates engage is drawing up a detailed business contract between the two parties to provide a framework for the relationship’s infrastructure. Although this is a legal document, it is by no means as ironclad as it appears. Unforeseen life events always can cause the best of intentions to go astray, resulting in eventual disbandment of the original plan. Not protecting both parties’ interests in advance can invite a host of difficulties, as well as possible litigation. The conditions included should be thought out carefully and agreed upon by both individuals well in advance. This is not a task to rush into because it must address not only the fundamental concerns that are relevant to the smooth operation of the facility, but also the many issues of consequence to the partners. Not giving credence to these special concerns increases the likelihood that loose ends will resurface later and escalate into major misunderstandings.
The most compelling reason for creating policies in a business collaboration is that standardization establishes a basis for the harmonious execution of work behaviors and activities. Pre-agreed-upon rules and regulations that are made into set policies are not difficult to draft because so many issues involved with the operation of a spa lend themselves naturally to standardization. Following are just a few things to consider seriously.
- Apportion of decisions
- Business guidelines—accounting and audits
- Equipment purchases and details regarding acquisitions
- Job structures
- Service structures
- Service charges and product markups
- Who to hire, and how to recruit and interview
- Treatment room guidelines—policy manuals
- Management and termination rules
- Insurance coverage issues
- Disabilities or dissolution—withdrawal of a partner, buyout formulas
- Induction of new partners
- Covenant not to compete
- Individual concerns of the two partners, such as allowable educational absences, as well as distribution of additional profits and reimbursement of funds
Partnership policies bind each party to principles that bring about their mutual compliance. Operational plans should be amended at least twice a year for a thriving facility and no less than once a year to ensure their relevance.