African American business owners should make a point to cultivate fruitful business partnerships. Throughout African American history, the proper business partnerships have been what delivered success for African American businesses and movements.
Some such historic examples are the business partnerships between Ottowa Gurley, the founder of The Greenwood District (Black Wall Street) and J.B. Stratford, founder of the Stratford Hotel and also Reverend Leon Sullivan who partnered with the Black Church congregation and founded the first Black-owned Shopping Center. Even the Civil Rights Movement was a massive, successful movement due to the Black Church leaders coming together with the African American community for fight for justice and equality. The start of Tuskegee University and several of the influential people who came to teach at the school at its founding is another example of how something small became one of the top historically Black colleges and universities in the nation.
Fact: The Black Church is the largest institution owned and operated by African Americans, having provided education, housing and funding for several movements and HBCUs in the country.
Here are several tips to selecting and cultivating great business partnerships which will in turn foster positive growth in a multitude of communities.
- Select partnerships with others whose goals and expectations are the same. Whenever going into a business partnership, be clear about the expectations and goals in order to ensure all parties involved align with the same vision for the future.
- Create business partnerships with others that have similar work ethic. Driving the growth of anything depends work ethic and resilience.
- Create partnerships with those who bring value and positivity, and not detract from the process with an unhealthy attitude. No matter how much value a person brings, without a healthy, level-headed and positive outlook, it will be simple to drag a business down and create problems from within.
- Clear contracts, depending on the vision or type of partnerships, are musts. Outline down to the detail what is expected, percentages and so on in order that no stone remains unturned. Remember that though business and friendships can go had in hand, however, business is business which is why contracts can keep the ground from getting too muddy. Everyone knows and is legally bound to what is expected.
- Preferably, create business partnerships with those who either have valuable contacts and/or are willing to be social enough to create them through some sort of networking/social media. Personalities are different, but the willingness to reach out in some form or fashion is key to marketing and growth. This also helps when attempting to gain venture capitalists to invest in your business.
- Plan for the dissolution, or closing, of the business partnership in case this needs to happen in the future. People change and goals tend to change, therefore, it’s best to have something in place where it’s already handled. This will mitigate confusion if partnerships can no longer stand.
Remember, a business partnership should always be a positive slope, not a negative one.