Are you thinking it might be time to take on a business partner? As a massage professional, you may want to partner with a chiropractor to expand your client base. Or if your business is therapeutic massage, it could be beneficial to partner with someone who has an expertise in sports massage therapy. If you own a spa, a partnership with a massage therapist who has a successful business working with corporate customers could help promote your spa services to many more clients.
Even if you share similar professional skills with someone, you may want a partner because you find it increasingly difficult to manage all the aspect of your business by yourself and would like to share the responsibility. A partner also may be able to provide capital to help you expand.
All of these are perfectly sound reasons to seek out a partnership with another professional in the massage or spa services market. However, just as marriages aren’t all “made in heaven,” neither are partnerships. Partnering with the wrong person can be far more damaging to your business than continuing to go it alone, even if you feel you’ve hit an impasse in growth.
Dig deep to get to know a potential partner
As much as you may enjoy a professional relationship with someone, that doesn’t necessary mean you will be able to form a great and lasting partnership. Here are some of the things that you want to look for in potential partner:
Shared values: The person you partner with should share similar work ethics and values about client service and managing employees. Sharing the same values builds trust and that trust is imperative in any relationship.
Similar motivation: An ideal business partner has the same drive and similar goals. If someone wants to build up the business as quickly as possible over the next few years and sell it to a larger organization and you want to build it and possibly expand to another location, you’ll eventually run into problems. Know what success looks like to each of you before you move ahead with a partnership.
Sound financial footing: You definitely don’t want to go into business with someone who has a bad credit rating or has bad relationships with suppliers. Each one of you should submit to a credit check.
Same vision of success of failure: Find out what a potential business partner thinks that success or failure looks like in terms of revenue, sale price and number of employees.
Ability to handle setbacks: Things go wrong. You should find out how someone will handle a crisis or react to a challenging situation. You don’t want to partner with someone who could derail your business in a panic.
Good relationships with others: How well your partner gets on with others – employees, suppliers, affiliates and clients – will of course affect your business and it will also reflect on you. Find out as much as possible how the history of a potential partner in forming and maintaining long-standing relationships.
Where to find a potential partner
You may not have anyone in mind right now but want to explore forging a partnership with someone. Professional organizations are a good place to start your search. Business networks such as LinkedIn can also be very useful. If you are active in any of the LinkedIn groups, pose some questions to start a conversation going – they could be about market trends, competitive forces, new techniques, etc. If you like someone’s answers; see if you can set up a lunch or coffee to get to know them better. Also inquire among your professional contacts to get recommendations.
If you think a partnership makes sense, take time to find the right person. Your partner does not have to become your best friend, but if you share values and visions and have a similar approach to business, you have a very good candidate to work with to take your spa or massage practice to the next level and beyond.