I am an advocate for running a business with a like-minded and like-motivated business partner, as opposed to going solo. Going alone is for greedy entrepreneurs (even though you’ll make more with a good partner over the long-run) or those who can’t find a partner they trust. It’s a shame because the output from two kindred entrepreneurial spirits working together can be amazing – far more than just double the output. Momentum is powerful and success compounds.
I only saw one of my business partners maybe half a dozen times last year. We spoke almost every day, I’ve known him for countless years, yet we rarely see each other anymore. Why? Although we live about an hour plane ride apart, that has nothing to do with it. Our lack of time together in the same place has to do with the fact that while I’m out there hustling and traveling to close deals and build new relationships, he’s doing the same. Think about the leverage that gives me…
I have two me’s hustling every day. Imagine all the people he and I touched last year. Think about the numerous deals we mustered up without being together; but doing it with the plan that both of us benefit from one of our successes.
What’s more, we both have families, so when one of us leaves for a vacay, the other is still hustling, keeping things roaring along and team members happy. We never get burnt out and have a pretty solid work/life balance, entirely enabled by our trust-based relationship.
Finding a trustworthy and like-motivated business partner is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do, but it’s the most important as an entrepreneur, for more than just the reasons I mentioned above.
Getting down to the nitty-gritty of trust, and why it makes all the difference in business, particularly with partners and clients, is why I’m writing today.
There are four keys enabled in a business deal or partnership from having trust…
Why Trust is Everything in Business
Things move faster when you have trust: As the age-old business and investing adage goes, timing is everything. In other words, when you have an idea, move quickly. When you have a client or partner you trust (and he you), deals get done quicker, people move into action right away, and thus, you get more done. On the contrary, when you don’t have trust between partners/clients, things take longer, and opportunities sometimes vanish…
A real world example: I was once structuring a deal with another entrepreneur. It was a relatively big deal, and this guy was the most paranoid, untrusting individual I had ever met. After agreeing to a letter of intent and the high-level terms it came with, we moved to the binding agreement stage. Everything looked good, both lawyers were happy, he and I agreed on everything at least in conversation, and then this guy started nitpicking the minutia, of virtually every section of the contract (there were roughly 50 sections). The guy didn’t trust me, my lawyer, the other party involved and not even his lawyer! Initially, I took it as he didn’t really want to do the deal and was looking for a way out. The reality was, he was a paranoid, untrusting individual, and from the day we verbally agreed to the draft of the binding agreement to the day we finally signed a formal contract was roughly three months!
Which brings me to my next critical point about trust…
Trust saves (and makes) entrepreneurs money: Think about the example above. Can you imagine how much extra we had to pay in legal bills because the gentleman involved, who for that deal I was essentially partnering with, didn’t trust anyone to a point he was paranoid, even of his own lawyer’s intent? That was an extreme example for sure, but it gets the point across. Also, consider how much extra time I wasted going through his changes (which were all trivial), and the time we spent in pointless renegotiations (when the deal had already been agreed to by all parties) when we should have been launching the project! My time is valuable, and so is any other entrepreneur’s. I’m confident that pointless exercise in paranoia cost the entrepreneurs involved tens of thousands of dollars in lost opportunity. After that deal, I never worked with him again, and never will. No trust, no future.
Trust motivates: Trust is so hard to gain. It can take a lifetime to earn and one bad decision to ruin, forever. So when you have someone’s trust, it makes you feel great. Therefore, you never want to lose it, and you’re motivated to reaffirm that person’s trust in you by delivering on everything you said you would for them. Everyone who’s not a sociopath feels this way, and that’s why when there is mutual trust in a business relationship, all parties are motivated to perform for one another. It’s a beautiful thing that produces unimaginably positive results.
Creates a camaraderie: I long for the days in the locker room and on the basketball court with my old teammates. We knew that to succeed we had to have each other’s backs. That environment created lasting friendships to this day. You can have that same bond in business when you’re battling for one cause, so long as you have trust within the group. Your efforts can improve your partners’ family, personal and spiritual life, and vice versa. I think this is one key reason why successful entrepreneurs were often involved in competitive sports at some point in their lives. We love working in a trustworthy unit, with a common goal (and we love to compete). More often than not, in sports and business, that goal is bigger than any individual, and you need to be able to trust everyone that they’ll step up for the cause. Without trust, there is no camaraderie. And without camaraderie, people will look elsewhere to find it.
Entrepreneurs Must Earn Trust
Trust fixes problems and creates impressive results. Entrepreneurs must seek partners they can trust. If you don’t trust the person(s), don’t bother going into business with them. A partnership without trust is an expensive, slow-moving business that lacks the necessary connection we entrepreneurs need to thrive. Always remember that trust is incredibly fragile and invaluable.
PS – I’ve succeeded and failed as an entrepreneur in several different industries. I’m also an angel investor, so I know a thing or two that you may find of value. Subscribe to my free weekly newsletter below. Only my best content will land in your inbox.