Turn a Handshake into a Business Plan

by Joe Perez, CEO of FrontLine Support Solutions

When it comes to building a business and teaming with a partner, it is possible that you will start with a handshake. From there, it’s important to take necessary steps to ensure a successful partnership.

A couple of weeks ago, I flew into Atlanta, Georgia and met with a gentleman who thought it would be profitable for his company to team with my company. Previously, we’d talked over the phone and had several long conference calls. We were acquainted in that way, but there’s nothing that takes the place of actually looking into another person’s eyes, listening to their tone and shaking their hand. It may be old fashioned, but I think it goes a long way.

When we finally met in person, we spent several hours getting to know one another and hit it off well. This is an extremely critical step and one you should not discount. Once you decide to join forces and create a joint venture, you’re bringing together your physical and mental forces to create a living entity in the eyes of the State.

It’s important to define what each party is bringing to the table, so to speak. At this point, you are detailing things out, while being as concise as possible. Obviously, you won’t be able to spell everything out from the start, but you should define the basic rules that you’ll be operating under in your legal documents. You might start with deciding whether you will incorporate or become an LLC. These early decisions will have subsequent ramifications, so it’s imperative that you make them together.

The creation of the entity is just the beginning of the process.
When I started my business, I had a marketing plan. I had a business plan. I had different facets to create so that I had a map to work from. I’m not one to wing it. I need to have some kind of plan and a goal to work toward. It’s important to understand that, although you start with a defined plan, it is a living, growing thing that can be modified at any time.

In the case of my current partnership, however, I can’t just modify the plan on a whim. We have to have rules for those changes because we are a team now.

Essentially, we have to come up with those rules together and decide how we’re going to agree and move forward on different items. This includes the market we are targeting to the customers within that market. It also encompasses coming to an agreed upon rate for our services. Do we sell it relatively inexpensively at the beginning to start picking up some market share and create some passive audience? Or we say that is the price and if you want our unique service, this is what you’ll pay?

Categories: Best Practices Guest contributors Inspirational

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