Wednesday 22 May 2019

Dialogue is best way to solve any issues with business partners

Send your small business questions to Stock image
Send your small business questions to Stock image

Feargal Quinn

Q: My business partner is constantly overriding what I am saying, and when meeting others is quick to interrupt with his view. It's embarrassing, and frustrating. Can you give me some tips to help sort this?

A: Personality traits are a great thing, but sometimes they can be disruptive.

I am sure your business partner may not even be conscious that they are doing this, but certainly you need to address it, as it will frustrate you on a constant basis and looks bad in front of those you are meeting.

It sends out signals that there is not a unified approach, and possibly may end up being uncomfortable for those you are meeting.

Start by having a conversation with your partner about how this makes you feel and encourage them to be more aware.

Rather than being seen to be scolding them, take it from the point of view that there is a small issue that you are finding uncomfortable and it would be a great benefit for you if they could be more aware of it going forward. That should set the scene for some healthy debate around the issue and I am almost certain that they will be embarrassed that they have not even noticed it.

If that doesn't work, you could consider using the services of a business mentor, or business coach, who would in effect mediate on the issue and bring some professional skills training for both of you.

My experience is that in the majority of cases, neither business partner addresses the issue for a long period of time.

Anger and frustration builds up and it spills over into a personalised argument that sometimes goes too far, with detrimental consequences.

You don't want that to arise. Dialogue is the best solution.

Q: Together with the management team in our business, we are trying to define the vision for our business which we are finding a bit challenging. We would welcome any ideas from yourself.

A: It is all too easy to get focused on practical items when looking at vision, eg if you were running a hotel you might be thinking about having a pleasant bar, a nice food menu, local produce on the menu, etc.

Vision is about a much broader perspective and needs to capture the true essence of what the business stands for.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a holiday camp. My father owned the Red Island holiday camp out near Skerries.

While there were lots of interesting things we did, like having an extensive calendar of entertainment, or collecting guests from the airport, the vision of the business was more about the entertainment of our guests than any single physical activity.

My father set out to give people a memorable holiday where the only task for the guests was to relax.

He went so far as taking payment from the guests on arrival with the commitment that there would be no other bills during their stay.

That set the tone and the entertainment and events calendar kicked in from that point onwards.

When setting out the vision for your own business, you need to stand back and examine the whole reason that the business exists.

Steer clear of the physical aspects and concentrate more on what the business is trying to achieve for your customers.

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