Top 7 Tips To Creating A Virtual Partnership
By Jeff Zbar
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A "virtual partnership" is an alliance between two or more entrepreneurs, free agents or other independent professionals designed to unite their unique skills for short- or long-term projects. The goal in setting up a virtual partnership should be to strengthen your own skills while offering a wider array of services to your - and your partners' - client base.
Here's some points to consider:
- Recruit wisely. Identify and tap participants based on their talents. They should bring non-competing skills that compliment your own and those of your other partners. Tap participants also based on the client base they serve and their ability to bring new work to the group. If one participant is not a good marketer, they might rely on the other partners to find work, which could build resentment among the group.
- Build a bond. Make sure the participants can work together, whether in a common setting or remotely. Host a brainstorming session or introductory meeting to ensure a good atmosphere of trust and camaraderie exists. When bidding or working on a project, partners become a reflection of you and your professionalism. Make sure you know and like their work style.
- Build a contact list of various "partners." This way, you can offer the best tactician based on the clients' specific needs. Also, you won't be left in the lurch if a partner is busy on another project when you come calling.
- Draft an agreement. This will include details about who will do what tasks in the partnership. Revise it with each new project to address new, specific needs. The agreement should outline specifically the contracted client fee and each partner's expected share of that fee. It should note whether a finder's fee will be paid, how much and to whom. It also should note whether each partners' expenses will be reimbursed and by whom.
- Define in writing - and follow up after signing - expectations for communications between team members, ensuring priorities, methods, responsibilities and expectations are understood as the project progresses. Ensure that the project objectives and people's job expectations are well outlined, so two people don't expect to handle the same task on the same project. Outline the order of steps needed to accomplish a project. This will help ensure that workers are brought on only when their skills are best suited for a particular phase of the project.
- Set up an exit plan. The contract should have a finite duration, usually linked to the completion of the particular project. It should make clear that the contract exists only for a particular client project and that the contract expires once that project is completed.
- Meet with your attorney and tax advisor to ensure the contract and compensation plans are appropriate and legal.
Zbar, the "Chief Home Officer," is a contributing editor to Home Office Computing and Entrepreneur's Home Office, and his work appears in Advertising Age, Computerworld and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. He is the author of Home Office Know-How (Dearborn), and Your Profitable Home Business Made E-Z on CD-ROM (Made E-Z Products, Inc.). Contact him at , or visit his Web site at www.goinsoho.com.
Article Submitted On: February 07, 2000