06 Dec Syndicates and Partnerships – used to fund and further, ideas!
Lots of people have great ideas but, do not have the time, the focus or the money, to implement or advance those ideas. In these times, which many business people see as, uncertain times, people are not prepared to take a risk, even if the potential reward is handsome.
There are however ways of reducing the cost and risk associated with the development of an idea, project or business, while at the same time obtaining access to a bank of ideas, knowledge and resources, at no upfront cost. Yes, less cost and a better chance of success! It is possible!
People make the world go round. The inclusion of other people in your great idea or project will add a new set of challenges but, it may be worthwhile. What if someone steals my idea? I would say, also consider this – what if you hide your idea, so safely and so well, that it never sees the light of day? Life is short. Take a risk, get the idea or business plan out there and see what happens!
The way to protect your idea is to properly document what you are doing and the rights and obligations of each of the parties at every stage and from very early on.
It also helps to get the right people involved. Some people will not be compatible with you. That will not work!
How do you tell if you have the right people involved? That’s not easy but, here is a strategy that will help. Get your potential partners in a room together and talk to them about all of the hard issues that are likely to pop up over the course of the project. Talk about how you see things going, your requirements and ask for a written agreement. Then watch, listen and see what happens.
This process is not only about getting an agreement together, it is about getting to know the people you will potentially be dealing with and getting an insight into how they will behave, in tough situations. Don’t be afraid to tackle the hard issues, including personal issues, very early on. Be tough, but reasonable, require everything in writing and be prepared to listen with an open mind. If it all falls apart, that is what was meant to happen.
Expect a debate, you may not want to work with a “yes” person, they will add nothing to the venture. However, my view is don’t trust anyone who takes offense at that process, they are either naive in business, afraid of commitment, or don’t agree with your position. Whichever is true, it is a negative sign and perhaps it is better that you end it there. Of course if someone does not agree with your position, it is true that you may not be the innocent party, so, of course always be prepared to take a look at yourself.
Now remember …..never take investment advice from a lawyer! We are not qualified to give that kind of advice but, I can make some observations and you can check with your business advisors.
The road ahead is cloudy. It is hard to see what is coming. What will interest rates do? How safe are jobs? There are lots of reasons to sit about and do nothing. However, I think it is also fair to say, that although no-one can pick a bottom, we have seen the top of the investment market come and go. Well, if you believe there are opportunities about and now is the time to move, then split the risk but, you may face another problem…. funding. One of the reasons that some assets are worth less today than they were yesterday is that many investors and business people cannot find the funding. Generally, there is less money around and market forces on the demand side, are at play. This is the time that syndicates can flourish.