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Why We Need to Know More About Partnerships

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Research is formalized curiosity. –  Zora Neale Thurston

We learn something every day by working with business partners to resolve conflicts that are preventing them from moving forward in their business.   As much as we learn qualitatively, though, we believe that there is a vast untapped reservoir of experience among successful, and less-successful, partnerships that could be tapped to reveal greater insights that would help business partners succeed.  We want to find out more.

While business partnerships are often compared to marriages, one difference is that they fail at a much higher rate than marriages. 

It is estimated that as many as 70% of business partnerships fail.

Research from Funders and Founders estimates that 62% of startup failure is due to conflicts among founders.  So, the single greatest cause of failure among these businesses isn’t their product, service, or market, but the inability of partners to work well together over an extended period.

The limited knowledge base currently available about business partnerships is focused almost exclusively on the legal aspects of partnerships: documenting formation, planning for contingencies and dissolution.  These issues are important, of course, but they are the minimum needed to embark on a business partnership.  What is left out are the issues that often seem to be at the root of the conflicts we see among partners: expectations, work ethic, how contributions are measured, and decision-making.

If you are in a business partnership or have been in the past, please click here to take a survey we are conducting as part of our ongoing research into what makes business partnerships thrive.  Our survey only takes 4 minutes. Responses are collected anonymously; we will report on the compiled results later this month and hope to provide more quantified insights into what makes partners thrive, or struggle, in their partnership.

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